Poetry Out Loud State Finals to take place Tuesday

Natalia Spengler, of Juneau-Douglas High School, recites a poem at the 2013 Poetry Out Loud State Finals at the JACC.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council will host the state finals for Poetry Out Loud, a national high-school recitation contest, on Tuesday, March 11, in Juneau. Ten high school students from around the state will participate in the state finals at the new 360 North Studio at the KTOO Building. Contestants will recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 700 classic and contemporary poems.


Rafael Sales from Thunder Mountain High School will represent Juneau in the competition. Other Alaskan finalists are: Vy Tuong Be from Unalaska City School, Unalaska; Katherine Carstensen-Zerbst from North Pole High School, North Pole; Owen Fulton from Sitk High School, Sitka; Tyler Kelly from Twindly Bridge Cherter School, Wasilla; Angela Nashalook from Unalakleet School, Unalakleet; Maeva Ordaz from West Anchorage High School, Anchorage; John Sarmiento from Homer High School, Homer; Hazel Underwood from Kenny Lake School, Copper Center; and Zoë Wassman from Skagway School, Skagway.

The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a recitation competition to high schools across the country. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. 

The winner of the Alaska State Poetry Out Loud finals will receive $200, and the winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

The Alaska state champion of the Poetry Out Loud will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip (with a chaperone) to compete in the National Finals in Washington, DC, on April 29-30. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will bestow a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, with a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

The Poetry Out Loud Alaska finals will take place on Tuesday, March 11, at 5 p.m. at the new 360 North Studio in the KTOO Building. The masters of ceremonies will be Shona Strauser and Bostin Christopher of Juneau’s Perseverance Theatre. Guest judges for the event include Kim Heacox of Gustavus, Marian Call of Juneau, Lynn Schooler of Juneau, Emily Wall of Juneau, and JoAnn Ross Cunningham of Haines.

The event is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited, so audience members are advised to reserve their free tickets in advance. To secure seats or get more information, contact the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council at (907) 586-2787, or visit www.jahc.org or www.poetryoutloud.org.

The event will be streamed live on the web at http://www.360north.org/poetry-out-loud-2014/


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