Thursday, February 22, 2007
What Would Walt Read Out Loud?

High School students from throughout Wyoming will participate in the state finals of the "Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest," at 7 p.m., March 5, at the Plains Hotel in downtown Cheyenne.

Winners of this year’s competition will be announced at an awards ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda at 8 a.m., March 6. The public is invited to attend both the evening competition and awards ceremony.

During the state finals, contestants will recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 400 poems. It includes old favorites by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, as well as poems by dynamic living authors who've read their work or conducted workshops in Wyoming, such as Joy Harjo, Jorie Graham, Robert Bly, and Li Young-Lee. You can read those poems -- or memorize them yourselves -- by going to the Poetry Out Loud web site.

The Wyoming Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation are co-sponsors of POL. It's a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition. This is the second consecutive year that Wyoming has participated in Poetry Out Loud.

Poetry Out Loud encourages mastery of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic competition to high schools across the country. The process begins at the classroom level. Those winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state capital competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. More than 250,000 students across the country are expected to take part this year.

The NEA and Poetry Foundation created a standards-based teacher’s guide, a comprehensive website and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins, Alyssa Milano, N. Scott Momaday and Rita Dove.

FMI: Wyoming Arts Council at 307-777-7742.

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"I hear America singing, the varied carols, I hear..."
I think he would cry, "Song of Myself."
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