POETRY OUT LOUD COMPETITION

 2016 Hawaii State Champion and Third Place National Finalist, Nicholas Amador

2016 Hawaii State Champion and Third Place National Finalist, Nicholas Amador

 2017 Hawaii State Champion and Second Place National Finalist, Nicholas Amador

2017 Hawaii State Champion and Second Place National Finalist, Nicholas Amador

 National Finalists with NEA Chairman Jane Chu

National Finalists with NEA Chairman Jane Chu

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry – both classic and contemporary – through memorization, performance, and competition. The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. Poetry Out Loud gives students an opportunity to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Nicholas Amador from Punahou School in Honolulu was selected as the 2017 Hawai‘i Poetry Out Loud champion and represented the state in the 2017 national finals in Washington, DC, last April. More than 310,000 students from 2,300 high schools took part in the 2016–2017 Poetry Out Loud program.

From September 2017 to March 2018, schools are invited to participate in classroom and school wide contests, advancing to a state competition in Honolulu on March 4th, 2018. State champions will advance to the national finals, to take place on April 24–25, 2018, in Washington, DC.

“Poetry Out Loud allows students to dive deep into poetry, finding connections with their own lives and then exploring how to connect with audiences through their recitations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “We are pleased to work with the Poetry Foundation and our state partners to provide students all across the country the opportunity to develop a lasting love of poetry.”

“Reciting a poem well is the art of allowing it to live inside one’s own skin,” said Poetry Foundation President Henry Bienen. “Poetry Out Loud is a chance for us all to think anew about the role of poems in our culture and the beginning of a lifelong connection with poetry in a young person’s life.”
“It is a wonderful thing for young people to be courageous enough to stand in front of their peers to recite poetry.  They have to grapple with a poem’s meaning, figure out how to vocalize that meaning, then perform in front of an audience without any notes.  The SFCA is proud of the hundreds of Hawaii students who have risen to that challenge since POL’s inception” said Jonathan Johnson, Executive Director of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered to provide administrative grants to state arts agencies and awards, and will coordinate the national finals next April. With this support, the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Honolulu Theatre for Youth will conduct outreach to schools statewide and host a state finals competition.  Additionally, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation provide free, standards-based curriculum materials, including an online poetry anthology containing more than 900 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Schools are welcome to download these resources at poetryoutloud.org.

How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud

High schools that wish to be part of the official Poetry Out Loud program must contact The Honolulu Theatre for Youth to participate. The Honolulu Theatre for Youth will work with interested schools to include them in the official Poetry Out Loud program. Schools that are not in the official program may conduct their own contests using the online resources. Contact HTY at 839-9885 ext. 704 or e-mail edadmin@htyweb.org. Deadline to register is December 22, 2017. You can also visit poetryoutloud.org 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 2017-2018. 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 materials. 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.