Poetry Out Loud contest

Oct 13, 2013

Haywood County high school students are gearing up to compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Poetry Recitation Contest.

For the past three years, students from Pisgah, Tuscola and Haywood Early College have participated in this national program and have had two top five finalists at the state level. Students read poetry from a selection of poems deemed eligible by Poetry Out Loud, and then research, rehearse, memorize, and recite at the classroom, school, regional, and state levels of competition.

The Haywood County Arts Council and local poet, Michael Beadle have been instrumental in bringing the program to our county, and have encouraged and provided resources and guidance needed for local students to participate. Judges for the school and regional competitions include members of the community who share a love and knowledge of the genre.

The winner of the Poetry Out Loud National Competition wins $20,000, and Haywood County English teachers know that the level of talent displayed over the past few years makes the chances of a local student winning at the state and national level a very real possibility.

Although the cash prize is a motivation, former participants, teachers, coaches, judges, and audiences know that the true reward comes from the connection that students make with poetry. According to Ben Sears, a Tuscola senior, last year’s regional winner, and finalist at the state level, “I think that poetry is best shared and expressed through vocalization.” He goes on to say, “Poetry Out Loud has given me a new appreciation of poetry.” By fostering this love of words, students will take with them something far more valuable than can be accurately measured, and ultimately everyone touched by the process wins.

Individual schools will announce the dates of classroom and school competitions, and the Regional Competition will be held at the Haywood Community College Auditorium in December.

All high school students who are interested in competing are eligible. The contest was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and has grown over the years to include thousands of participants from all fifty states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Washington D.C.

For more information about the program, go to: http://ncarts.org/education/poetry-out-loud.