Archive for April 21st, 2021

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National Poetry Out Loud

April 21, 2021

Blog post 2 of 6 – Poetry

Washington, DC—For the first time in the program’s 16-year history, the Poetry Out Loud™ national semifinals and finals will be held virtually this May. Each year, high school students nationwide experience Poetry Out Loud, memorizing and reciting classic and contemporary poetry and participating in local, regional, and state competitions. From the thousands of students who competed in 2020-2021, 55 finalists—one from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa—will advance to compete in the Poetry Out Loud national finals. The virtual finals will culminate in the announcement of the 2021 national champion, who will receive a grand prize of $20,000. Visit poetryoutloud.org for the list of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions and their high schools.

Representing Maine at the national event will be Emily Paruk from Gorham High School. Emily will be reciting Once the World Was Perfect by Joy Harjo, Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings, and [‘Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning’] by Emily Bronte. You can learn more about Maine’s state recitations and hear Emily reciting at the blog post from yesterday, April 20.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. This national program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students, helping them to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The 2021 finalists come from a diverse range of communities around the United States, including for the first time Guam and American Samoa.

“We know this has been a challenging year for students and we hope Poetry Out Loud has provided them with an opportunity to find joy, comfort, or explore new ideas in a poem,” said Ann Eilers, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We encourage audiences to tune in to the national finals to celebrate the hard work and incredible accomplishments of these students and cheer on their state champions.”

On Sunday, May 2, 2021 beginning at 12pm ET, the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals will be broadcast through a one-time-only webcast at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud. Each of the 55 champions submit in advance video recordings of their poetry recitations, which will be reviewed and scored by judges with expertise in poetry, performance, and the literary arts. The recitations from all 55 students will be broadcast on May 2 as part of one of three regional semifinals, and will include the announcement of the top nine students (three from each region) who will advance in the competition. Visit arts.gov/poetry-out-loud for the full semifinals schedule.

On Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 pm ET, actor and writer Shaun Taylor-Corbett will host the 2021 Poetry Out Loud national finals. Webcast at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud, the evening will feature pre-recorded recitations, live interviews with the top nine finalists, and the live announcement of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The national finals judges will include Cathy Linh CheEduardo C. CorralGabriel CortezIdris GoodwinElisa New, and Branden Wellington.

“We are so grateful to our partners across the country for making Poetry Out Loud possible in this evolving reality,” said Justine Haka, Poetry Foundation program manager. “The students themselves have been an inspiration, joining this program because they are open to the power of poetry and what it can do to connect us while we are apart.”

A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends will be awarded at the national finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded for Poetry Out Loud. The Poetry Out Loud national finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Closed captioning and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided for both the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals and finals.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #POL21 and #IAmPoetryOutLoud and follow the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation at @PoetryOutLoud@NEAArts, and @PoetryFound.

The Poetry Out Loud state champions also had the opportunity to highlight their own original poetry by competing in the Poetry Ourselves competition. State champions were able to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories: either a written poem or a video of a spoken poem. The winner and runner-up in each category will be selected by poet Eve L. Ewing and announced in May.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom/school or at the local level with an area organization. Students memorize and recite poems they select from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. Winners then may advance to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the national finals. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations across the nation have participated in Poetry Out Loud. For more information about Poetry Out Loud and how to participate in the 2021-2022 program, visit poetryoutloud.org.

Poetry Out Loud in Maine is administered by the Maine Arts Commission. For more information visit the MAC POL page at THIS LINK.

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