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February 15, 2011

Poetry Out Loud State Competition At Austin Peay State University

Tennessee high school students compete in poetry recitation contest

NASHVILLE - - The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission, is presenting the statewide competition for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. During September 2010 – February 2011, schools were invited to participate in classroom and school-wide contests. Forty-six schools from throughout Tennessee participated in the program. One champion from each of the 46 schools is advancing to the state competition on March 4 – 5, 2011 at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. The competition will be held on campus at the Music/Mass Communication Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, March 5, there will be three rounds of competition. Round one will occur from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. in which students will recite their first poems. Round two will occur from 12 – 2 p.m. in which students will recite their second poems. The top 10 students with the highest cumulative scores from rounds one and two will advance to the finals round to recite their third poems to compete for the state championship from 2:15 – 3:45 p.m.  The state champion will advance to the National Finals, to take place on April 28-29 in Washington, D.C.

“The Commission places great priority on the young people of our state,” says Rich Boyd, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “Poetry Out Loud brings attention to creative high school students and dedicated instructors, providing recognition and reward beyond the classroom curriculum. We are proud to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in making this program possible for our talented high school students.”

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 this program students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to begin a love affair with words, ideas, and imagination that will inspire them throughout their academic journeys and their careers,” said Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

During the state finals competition, students will attend an Original Poetry Writing Workshop with Youth Speaks Nashville and have a chance to recite their own written work in a Poetry Slam. Students will tour the Austin Peay State University campus and hear music by Seth Guillen, an APSU student guitarist.

As part of the program this year, teachers had the opportunity to apply for Arts Education Mini-Grants to collaborate with teaching artists in their schools as part of the Poetry Out Loud School-based Workshops. The theme of the School-based Workshops was Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" from Leaves of Grass. The teaching artists used the poem to teach students the concept of self as it relates to the individual and to the audience in poetry recitation. Students learned how to analyze poems from the Poetry Out Loud Anthology to determine selections that were most relevant to them.
The Commission also held five Regional Training Workshops around the state to prepare school champions for the state finals. Teaching artists worked with students on poetry analysis, recitation skills, and discussed the logistics of the state finals. The workshops took place at the Tennessee Arts Commission, Jackson Arts Council, Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Johnson City Public Library, and Knoxville Arts & Culture Alliance.

The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation provided travel support for the state finals of Poetry Out Loud in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Teachers were able to apply for travel funding assistance to help offset the costs of traveling to Clarksville. Travel awards were given based on financial need and geographic location.
  For further information on Poetry Out Loud in Tennessee, visit www.arts.state.tn.us/POL_TN.htm. For more information on the national Poetry Out Loud contest, visit www.poetryoutloud.com.

 This year’s program is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Tennessee Arts Commission, Austin Peay Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Riverview Inn.

Poetry Out Loud awards:
The state champion will receive a total of $1200 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 $600, 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.

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