11th Annual Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition to Take Place at Days Inn Meadville Conference Center

High school students in Northwestern Pennsylvania compete in a national poetry recitation contest

Erie Arts & Culture announces the regional finals for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a nationalPOL2016 program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

On Saturday, February 13, high school students representing four of the six counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania, will gather at Days Inn Meadville Conference Center to compete for the title of regional champion.  The winner goes on to represent our region at the State competition held in Harrisburg in March.  The state champion will then compete at the national competition in Washington, DC. More than $100,000 in prizes are awarded at the state and national competitions each year, with the National Champion winner awarded $20,000.

The regional competition will be judged by Erie County’s very own Poet Laureate, Christopher “Cee” Williams, author of three book-length collections of poetry and founder of Poets’ Hall and Poets’ Hall Press, both non-profit endeavors which he operates nearby his alma mater, East High School.  Other judges will include Donna Baker, retired English teacher from Conneaut Valley High School, Dr. Greg Brown, Director of the Writing Center at Mercyhurst University, Jan Hyatt, founder of the Meadville based Creating Landscapes Learning Center, providing creative educational programs for children, teens, and young adults, and Lora Zill, state-rostered Teaching Artist, and faculty at both Gannon University and Allegheny College.

The contestants will recite works they have selected from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems for consideration by the judges, who score against criteria outlined by the competition. Students participating in the Poetry Out Loud program have benefited from educational materials created by the Arts Endowment and the Poetry Foundation. These standards-based curriculum materials include an online anthology, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Schools are welcome to download these resources at poetryoutloud.org. 

What: 11th Annual Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition
Where: Days Inn Meadville Conference Center, off Interstate 79
Address: 18360 Conneaut Lake Rd, Meadville, PA 16335
Phone:(814) 337-4264
When:  Saturday, February 13, 2016
Time:  11:00am 

About Erie Arts & Culture

The mission of Erie Arts & Culture is to strengthen the vibrancy and vitality of the Erie Region and enrich the lives of our people through the advancement of arts and culture. Additional information about Erie Arts & Culture is available online at www.erieartsandculture.org.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the regional competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC. Some 365,000 students from more than 2,300 high schools took part in the 2014–2015 Poetry Out Loud program.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit arts.gov.

About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.


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