"Poetry Out Loud" State Finals To Select Ohio Student Champion

Updated Thu, Feb 13, 2014 11:01 am

The Ohio Arts Council will host the ninth annual Poetry Out Loud state finals on Saturday, March 8, at the Matesich Theatre on the campus of Ohio Dominican University, 1216 Sunbury Road, Columbus.

The day-long event, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., brings students, parents and teachers from 49 high schools throughout the state to compete for the chance to represent Ohio at the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C., held April 28-30.

The winner at the state level receives $300 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for its library.

The runner-up receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Additionally, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be awarded to the winners at the National Finals.

The contest starts at the classroom level where more than 8,000 students participated in their school contests this year. Students memorize a poem and recite it before a panel of judges who score them in the following areas: physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding, accuracy and overall performance.

This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

Columbus poet Hannah Stephenson will share her original poems between rounds in the state competition. She is a poetry blogger for The Huffington Post, and her poems have appeared in publications that include Hobart, Room, Contrary, MAYDAY, qarrtsiluni, and The Nervous Breakdown.

Her full-length collection, In the Kettle, the Shriek, debuted in 2013. She is the founder of Paging Columbus!, a literary arts monthly event series featuring local poets reading their original work at the Ohio State University Urban Arts Space.

Ohio Arts Council board member Sharon Howard will serve as emcee for the final round of the state competition. The event is free and open to the public.

Poetry Out Loud is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council and state arts agencies nationwide. The Ohio Poetry Out Loud finals are presented in partnership with Thurber House, the Ohioana Library and the Ohio Center for the Book in Cleveland.

Visit poetryoutloud.org for more information on this national program and the Ohio Arts Council website for more information on the Ohio program.