Poetry Out Loud: Registration Now Open!

Elizabeth Andronic at the POL National FinalsHow do we make poetry matter to students? The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest offers an answer to this question. Since its inception, Poetry Out Loud (POL) has sought to foster a love of poetry in high school students and connect them with our collective literary heritage.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with State Arts Agencies to bring the POL to all 50 states and US territories. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class.  In addition, POL allows students to master public speaking skills and build self-confidence—tools that have life-long benefits for growth and community interaction.

Read an interview with 2014’s State Champion, Matthew Kaplan of Phoenix.

Matthew Kaplan, Arizona State Champion, 2014The competition begins on a small scale with classroom and school level contests. Winners then compete at a Regional Competition, advance to State Finals, vie for the title of Arizona State Champion, and then finally move on to an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. Each winner at the state level receives $200 with his or her school receiving a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state receives $100; his or her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books. A total of $50,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends are awarded at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship award for the National Champion.

While the competition sounds daunting, the core intention of POL is to create a shared experience for students nationwide, turning their individual love of poetry into a passion shared with thousands of others.

For more information on Poetry Out Loud, visit http://www.azarts.gov/arts-learning/poetry-out-loud/.

Poetry Out Loud is open to all Arizona High Schools. To register your school for the 2014-2015 season visit http://www.azarts.gov/arts-learning/poetry-out-loud/register-your-school/.  Online registration will be open until October 24, 2014.

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