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DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Announces 8th Annual Poetry Out Loud District Finals

Friday, February 10, 2012

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud to announce the 8th Annual Poetry Out Loud District Finals, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at Arena Stage from 6–8:30 pm.

Poetry Out Loud is a national competition that seeks to foster the next generation of literary scholars by exploring 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. More than 1,700 high school students from 12 DC public, charter and private schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud program in 2011-2012.

“Poetry Out Loud connects young people with great works of poetry, as the beginning of 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."

Twelve students will advance to the District Finals on March 13. The winner of the District Finals will receive a monetary award and a variety of poetry literature for his or her classroom. The winner will advance to compete for a $20,000 scholarship in the National Finals, which will take place on May 14–15 at Sidney Harman Hall. Last year, Grey Butler, a junior at Calvin Coolidge High School, was selected as the DC Poetry Out Loud champion and represented the District in the 2011 National Finals last April.

“Through Poetry Out Loud, high school students personally experience the importance of the American legacy of literary excellence,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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’ Arts Education Manager, Carlyn Madden at (202) 724-5613. Teachers may also visit www.poetryoutloud.org for more information.