The West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts will sponsor the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest for the third time in 2008. The program is administered by state arts agencies across the country. The contest is open to all West Virginia students in grades 9 - 12.
By encouraging high school students to memorize and perform great poems, Poetry Out Loud brings the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, oral presentation, and theater into the English class. It also builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as demonstrated by the popularity of rap music. “This is a very important program,” said Jeff Pierson, director of arts for the WVDCH. “The National Endowment for the Arts has given West Virginia students an excellent opportunity to showcase their passion for poetry and their talent for performance.”
The registration deadline for participants is Jan. 31, 2008. Individual schools and/or regional competitions must be completed by Feb. 16. Individual school/regional winners will be awarded travel expenses to the state final and given the opportunity to attend a cultural event in Charleston.
The state championship round will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2008, in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The state winner will receive $200 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the national finals in April.
Poetry Out Loud is a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation, says “The public recitation of great poetry is a way to honor the speaker, the poem, and the audience all at once.”
Liz McCormick, a ninth grade student from Capital High School in Charleston last spring, was West Virginia’s winner in 2007; she went on to become one of 12 finalists in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, D.C.
For more information about the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, or to register your school or students, contact Stacy Kepple, Poetry Out Loud coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0240, ext. 145, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by the Jan. 31 deadline. A registration form also can be downloaded from our website at www.wvculture.org/arts/. In addition, information is available at www.poetryoutloud.org.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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