High School Students Participate In Poetry Out Loud State Competition

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Top placing regional winners will compete at the state competition of Poetry Out Loud on Saturday, March 31 at the Tennessee State Capitol. The competition will begin at noon in the State Senate Chambers.  This event is free and open to the public.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.  In fall and winter 2011, 36 schools participated in classroom and school-wide contests. Winners from these local competitions advanced to the regional events that were held through the month February within the three grand divisions including West, Middle and East Tennessee.

Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest is presented by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The state champion will receive a total of $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship. The state champion‘s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up will receive $500, with $200 for his or her school library. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends at the National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

“This year Tom Randles, co-anchor of WSMV Channel 4 will serve as the emcee for the event,” saidNan Zierden, special projects coordinator for the Tennessee Arts Commission. “In addition five judges will evaluate the student’s recitation of their selected poems based off of an established set of criteria. The judges come from around the state are selected based off of their experience and involvement with poetry, drama, English and creative writing.”

The judges this year are: Whitney Jo, managing director of Playhouse on the Square in Memphis; award winning poet, Dr. Marilyn Kallet from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Stephanie Pruitt, poet, artist educator and community organizer as well as the poet in residence at the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy; Malcolm Glass retired director of the writing program of the Center for the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University; and Ethan Castelo, professor of literature and composition at Middle Tennessee State University.

Poetry Out Loud is open to public, private and homeschooled high school students throughout Tennessee. This year eight students will recite their selected poems at the statewide competition including: Summer Awad from Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville ( teacher John Sides); Abigayle Claflin from Cumberland County High School in Crossville ( teacher Angela Robbins); Greta Hoffman from Cookeville High School in Cookeville (teacher Sharon Cochrane); Sarah Mihealsick from Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge (teacher Sylvia Wood); Anita Norman from Arlington High School in Arlington (teacher Anna Terry); Kelsea Tate from Ridgeway High School in Memphis ( teacher Julie Watson); Ashley White from Franklin Classical School in Franklin (teacher Benjamin Crist); and MaryBeth Yancey from Dickson (teacher Ellen Yancey).

To help participants offset costs of travel to the state capitol, parents were able to apply for travel funding assistance. Travel awards were given based on financial need and geographic location.

This year’s program is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council.

For further information on Poetry Out Loud in Tennessee, visit http://www.tn.gov/arts/pol2012/pol2012.html.  For more information on the national Poetry Out Loud contest, visit www.poetryoutloud.com.

For more information about the state competition or to register your school for the upcoming year, contact Nan Zierden, arts education special projects coordinator at Tennessee Arts Commission, 615 532-5934 or nan.zierden@tn.gov.


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