The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and Alaska State Council on the Arts will host the state finals for Poetry Out Loud on Tuesday, Feb. 22, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.
Nine students from across Alaska will participate in the Poetry Out Loud state finals. Participants are Kaylee Miltersen from Anchorage, Kendra Fleharty from Unalakleet, Lakeidra D. Chavis from Fairbanks, Katrina Greenleaf from Juneau, Trevor Pruitt from Ketchikan, Erica Kelly from Delta Junction, Whitney Winders from the Matsu Valley, Kirsten Rawding from Thorne Bay and Jess Andersen from Unalaska. The winner will then head off on an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Alaska in the national finals for a chance to be the national champion and receive a $20,000 scholarship. There were over 4,700 students from over 900 classrooms around the state involved in Poetry Out Loud this year.
The master of ceremonies on Tuesday will be Deborah Smith. Guest judges for the event include: Sherry Simpson, a well-known writer raised in Juneau; Derrick Burlson, University of Alaska at Fairbanks professor, NEA fellow in poetry and published poet; Dave Kiffer, poet from Ketchikan and mayor of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough; Seth Kantner, commercial fisherman and author of “Ordinary Wolves”; and Richard Dauenhauer, UAS professor, translator, and former poet laureate of Alaska.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council at 586-ARTS (-2787) or visit www.jahc.org.