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7th Annual Poetry Out Loud District Finals, And The Winner Is...

Monday, March 19, 2012

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud to announce that Garrett Jansen, a senior at St. Anselm’s Abbey School in Northeast Washington, DC received the title of 2012 Poetry Out Loud District Champion at the District Finals held on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at Arena Stage.

Garrett’s final recitation was The Reedemer by Siegfried Sassoon. He will advance to compete in the National Finals at the Harman Center for the Arts on May 13-15, 2012.

Nine high school students from DC public, charter and private schools competed at the District Finals. Chesley Swann, a senior at Banneker High School in Northwest Washington won second place. Grey Butler, a senior at Calvin Coolidge High School won third place. More than 1,700 DC students took part in Poetry Out Loud classroom activities in 2011-2012.

“Poetry Out Loud is a great opportunity for youth to explore the works of American poetry,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “This year’s competition was an excellent display of the inspiring work done by DC schools, teachers and students.”

Guest judges presided over the competition, including Gretchen Wharton, a Commissioner with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Peter Guttmacher of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust, Simone Jacobson of Busboys and Poets, Audra Polk of Ballou High School and Romas Maith of School Without Walls. Judges evaluated performances using criteria including physical presence, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty and accuracy.

The competition also featured performances by local artists and arts organizations including Split This Rock’s DC Youth Slam Team, DJ RBI with Words, Beats & Life and Regie Cabico, a local poet and spoken word artist. Grammy-nominated DC native, Christylez Bacon, emceed the event.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national competition that 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 the oral art form of poetry, as seen in the slam poetry and spoken word movements. The program invites these dynamic aspects into the classroom, where teachers engage students through classroom memorization, performances and competition. Through Poetry Out Loud, students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Poetry Out Loud is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and the Poetry Foundation. The District of Columbia piloted the program in 2004.

Get involved in 2013

High school teachers who are interested in participating in the 2013 Poetry Out Loud program must contact the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to participate. Contact Carlyn Madden, Arts Education Manager, or visit www.poetryoutloud.org for more information.