Montana Arts Council is pleased to announce its upcoming Poetry Out Loud Regional and State Finals events, set to take place between early February and early March.
In existence since 2005, Poetry Out Loud is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and has continually engaged and inspired high school students across the country through recitation performance contests at the local, regional, state and national levels. Through the program, students learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation, master public speaking skills, build their self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life, all while developing a passion for the spoken word.
Reciting poems chosen from an anthology of more than 900 works by noted contemporary poets as well as those from throughout history, students in grades 9-12 will compete in contests that follow a model similar to the National Spelling Bee; students advance from schoolwide contests to regional competitions—of which five are taking place in Montana this year—to the State Finals where twenty-one competitors will compete to represent the state at the National Finals in Washington D.C. April 29-May 1.
Regional events will be held on the campus of the University of Montana Western in Dillon on February 1 and at Montana State University Billings on February 4, followed by events at the University of Providence in Great Falls on February 6, Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell on February 7 and the University of Montana in Missoula on February 8. All regional events begin at 1 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.
The Poetry Out Loud Montana State Finals competition will be held Saturday, March 2 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Grandstreet Theatre, 325 N. Park in Helena. The event will bring together twenty-one high school students, advancing from five regional events held throughout the state, to compete in two semi-final rounds followed by a final round in which eight finalists will compete to become state champion. Awards and placements are determined solely by the judges’ scores based on the Poetry Out Loud evaluation criteria.
The winner of the State Finals event receives an award of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington D.C., to compete for the national championship, while the champion’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school. Admittance to the Montana Poetry Out Loud State Finals is free of charge and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
For more detailed information on the above events, please contact Montana Arts Council (MAC) at (406) 444-6430. For further information on the program, contact Monica Grable, MAC’s Arts Education Director, at (406) 444-6522 or firstname.lastname@example.org. National Poetry Out Loud program details and resources are available at poetryoutloud.org.