“To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too.”
Utah Arts & Museums invites all educators in Utah’s secondary schools to encourage students to participate in Poetry Out Loud (POL). The state competition is presented by Utah Arts & Museums. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation that encourages students in grades 9-12 to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
In each state, Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom or school level. Classroom winners advance to a school-wide competition, school winners advance to a regional competition, and regional winners advance to the state finals. The Utah champion competes in Washington, D.C. at the national finals, April 30 and May 1, 2014. Awards totaling $50,000 go to first-, second-, third-place and honorable-mention winners, as well as supporting the purchase of poetry books for represented schools.
Students from schools not associated with an accessible region compete at a preliminary competition held the day of the state finals. Participating schools must register and complete their school-wide competition by February 7, 2014. Regional competitions will end by February 21, 2014. The Utah State Final Competition is at 7:00 p.m. March 12, 2014, at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
“Utah has had four finalists in the national top nine,” said Utah Arts & Museums Director Lynnette Hiskey. “Last year, Devin Jones of West Jordan High School received an honorable mention at the national finals. We’re very proud of our students who compete and excel in this wonderful program.”
In 2012, senior MarKaye Hassan of Logan High School competed against 53 state and territory champions. Hassan received the third-place prize and a $5,000 award, and was invited to return to Washington, D.C., to recite at the National Book Festival. In 2008, Skyline High School senior Madison Niermeyer also placed third at the national competition and received a $5,000 scholarship award. Niermeyer was contacted by noted Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti to congratulate her on her recitation of his poem “I Am Waiting.”