High school students in Alaska invited to compete in national poetry recitation contest
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, in partnership with Alaska State Council on the Arts and Juneau Arts & Humanities Council.
Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. During fall and winter 2012-13, schools are invited to participate in classroom and schoolwide contests, advancing to a state competition on March 19. State champions will advance to the National Finals, to take place on April 29-30 in Washington, D.C.
Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry, recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theater into the English classroom. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
“Poetry Out Loud connects young people with great works of poetry, as the beginning a lifelong relationship,” said Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Our state arts agencies, schools, and arts organizations work to support the dedicated teachers who inspire their students to begin that journey. A poem can be a powerful force in bringing together a community.”
“To memorize a great poem is to make a friend of it for life,” said John Barr, President of the Poetry Foundation. “Poetry Out Loud brings new energy to an ancient art by returning it to the classrooms of America.”
Additionally, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation will provide state arts agencies with free, standards-based curriculum materials for use by participating schools. These materials include print and online poetry anthologies, a Teacher’s Guide with sample lesson plans to help instructors teach recitation and performance, a Learning Recitation DVD, and an audio CD featuring well-known actors and writers such as James Earl Jones, Anthony Hopkins, and Rita Dove. Program materials are available for download on the website, www.poetryoutloud.org, which offers additional resources.
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.
Aryeh Lax from Steller Secondary School, Anchorage School District, was selected as the 2012 Alaska Poetry Out Loud champion and represented the state in the 2012 National Finals in Washington, D.C ., in May. In Alaska only, more than 5,000 students from 34 high schools took part in the 2011–12 Poetry Out Loud program. Over 365,000 students participated nationwide.
How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud
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. 17 and 18 the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council and the Alaska State Council on the Arts will host two informational teleconferences for teachers, administrators and parents who want to know more about the program. Discussion will be on the resources available, the process for schools, registration and any other questions about how to make this happen. Contact Kari Groven, Poetry Out Loud coordinator, at email@example.com or visit www.poetryoutloud.org for information.
Poetry Out Loud awards
Students who participate in the official Poetry Out Loud program may be eligible to compete in the state and National Finals in 2013. Each state champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C ., 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 in each state will receive $100, 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.
Registration and Information
The registration form and information on the Alaska state Competition are 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 call JAHC at 586-ARTS (2787) for information about the Alaska program. The deadline to register is Oct. 15. The statewide final is March 19.