High school students may enter Poetry Out Loud contest by Oct. 9

The Connecticut Office of the Arts in partnership with Connecticut Humanities present the 11th annual Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. In the 2014‐2015 school year, more than 6,700 students participated in Poetry Out Loud statewide.

Connecticut high schools may participate in classroom and school-wide poetry contests during the 2015-16 academic year, with the winners advancing to a state competition on March 15, 2016. The Connecticut State Champion will advance to the National Finals, which will take place May 2-4, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

Connecticut’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud Champion Owen Elphick, now a senior at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, was a finalist in the 2015 National Finals last April. He was one of more than 365,000 students from more than 2,300 high schools nationwide who took part in the Poetry Out Loud program during the last school year.

Owen’s POL State Championship represents the pinnacle of many victories our students experienced in their involvement with Poetry Out Loud,” said Denise Abercrombie, teacher and English Department Chairperson at E.O. Smith High School. “Many students who've never given poetry a second thought or who shy away from public speaking now carry a poem in their hearts and a bit more confidence on stage. Poetry Out Loud brings poetry alive for our students!”  

The Poetry Out Loud curriculum includes one-to-three weeks of classroom time, and may be incorporated with existing poetry lessons. The Connecticut Office of the Arts and Connecticut Humanities will work with participating schools to provide professional development for teachers and opportunities for students to work with professional poets and performance coaches.

Additionally, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation provide state arts agencies with free, standards‐based curriculum materials for use by participating schools. These materials include an online poetry anthology containing more than 800 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters, and video and audio on the art of recitation. These resources are available at www.poetryoutloud.org.

The deadline for Connecticut high schools to register for Poetry Out Loud is Oct. 9. Teachers should visit http://cthumanities.org/c4b/pol/ to register or contact Lisa Marcinkowski June at POL@cthumanities.org or 860-685-7594 for more 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 2015‐2016. Each state champion will receive $200 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 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. For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit poetryoutloud.org.

About Connecticut Humanities

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year. It is headquartered in Middletown. Learn more by visiting cthumanities.org

About Office of the Arts

The Office of the Arts is dedicated to making the arts accessible to all Connecticut residents and visitors. The Office of the Arts is funded by the State of Connecticut and the National Endowment for the Arts and receives support from other public and private sources. Learn more by visitingcultureandtourism.org/cct/cwp/view.asp?a=3948&q=464520