Poetry Out Loud program seeks student participants

LANSING – All Michigan high schools are invited to engage students in poetry curriculum with a free, national poetry recitation program from the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Poetry Out Loud is a recitation competition that encourages youth to perform at the state Poetry Out Loud competition. Students learn about poetry through memorization and performance while also mastering public speaking skills, building self-confidence and learning about literary heritage.

Nationally, nearly 400,000 students are involved in this program each year; it is made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

“We absolutely can’t say enough great things about the Poetry Out Loud program,” said a teacher from Charlevoix High School after last year’s competition. “I saw tremendous growth in several of my students as they prepared for our classroom competition: love of poetry, deepened analytical skills, awareness of and responsiveness to tone, and of course self-confidence in presentation. The (state competition) was a fantastic compilation, and in my 11 years of teaching, it was certainly one of the highlights to see all those fantastic young competitors come together to share their love of the written and spoken word.”

Each participating school receives free teacher resources and materials to incorporate poetry into existing curriculum. Schools hold their own recitation competitions, where they select a student to represent their school at the state finals in March in Lansing.

The state champion receives a $200 award, and all-expenses-paid trip with chaperone to Washington, D.C., to represent Michigan in the national competition with an opportunity to win a $20,000 college scholarship.

The state champion’s school receives a $500 stipend to purchase new poetry books. The state runner-up receives a $100 award and $200 for his/her school. Travel to the state competition for eligible teachers, students and parents is reimbursable.

To learn more and to register a school or classroom, visit www.michiganhumanities.org.