High school students invited to compete in Poetry Out Loud

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have announced the deadline for getting involved in this year’s Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a program offered in partnership with the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. The deadline to register is Oct. 15.


Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition. This fall and winter, students from schools around the state will have an opportunity to participate in classroom and schoolwide contests, with some students advancing to a state competition on March 11. State champions will advance to the National Finals, to take place on April 29-30 in Washington, D.C.

Last year’s Poetry Out Loud winner from Alaska was Tong Thao from Colony High School in Palmer, who represented the state in the 2013 National Finals last May.

In Alaska, more than 4,000 students from 39 high schools took part in the 2012–2013 Poetry Out Loud program, including Natalia Spengler of Juneau. More than 365,000 students participated nationwide.

Poetry Out Loud builds enthusiasm for poetry by highlighting the spoken word aspect of the art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and in the continued popularity of rap music. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered to provide administrative grants to state arts agencies and awards, and will coordinate the National Finals next April. With this support, the Alaska State Council on the Arts will work in partnership with the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, plus communities and districts across Alaska to encourage participation.

Additionally, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation will provide state arts agencies with free, standards-based curriculum materials for use by participating schools. Program materials are available for download on the website, www.poetryoutloud.org, which offers additional resources.

High school teachers who are interested in participating in Poetry Out Loud should know that the program takes one to three weeks of classroom time, and may be incorporated with existing poetry units. High schools that wish to be part of the official Poetry Out Loud program must register online at jahc.org/arts-education/poetry-out-loud to participate. The Alaska State Council on the Arts will determine which schools are eligible to take part in the official Poetry Out Loud program. Schools that are not in the official program may conduct their own contests using the online resources.

On Sept. 24 and October 1 the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and the Alaska State Council on the Arts will host informational teleconferences for teachers, administrators and parents who want to know more about the program. Contact Kari Groven, Poetry Out Loud coordinator, at pol@jahc.org or visit www.poetryoutloud.org for more information.

The registration form and information on the Alaska state Competition can be found at jahc.org/arts-education/poetry-out-loud. General information on Poetry Out Loud is available from Poetry Out Loud at www.poetryoutloud.org, or by calling JAHC at 586-ARTS (2787) for more information about the Alaska program.


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