Contact: Sarah Dresser, Cultural Affairs Specialist, 573-874-6387,
The city's Office of Cultural Affairs will host the regional competition for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest from 10 a.m. - noon Feb. 20 at the Columbia Public Library. The event is free and open to the public. The competition, in partnership with the Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. On Feb. 20, nine high school student finalists from the central Missouri region will compete to go on to the state competition March 14 in Jefferson City.
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 regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, D.C. Some 365,000 students from more than 2,000 high schools nationwide took part in the 2011-2012 Poetry Out Loud program.
The Missouri champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship, April 29-30. The school of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.
For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.