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Regional school poetry competitions to take place this Winter

Baltimore – Thirty-nine high school students from across Maryland will compete in three regional poetry recitation competitions in January and February with support from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). The competitions are part of Poetry Out Loud (POL), a national poetry recitation contest created and co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, which aims to teach students about their literary heritage, build their self-confidence and improve their public speaking skills. This year, students will also have the option of writing an original poem for the Poetry Ourselves competition.

"The Maryland State Arts Council began participating in the national Poetry Out Loud program 14 years ago with two counties,” says Chris Stewart, MSAC POL Director and Arts in Education Program Director.  “It has now grown to an average of sixteen counties and 8,000 students. Since the program’s inception, more than 125,000 Maryland students have competed, memorizing at least one poem.”

Region One includes Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties.  Its regional competition is Saturday, February 2, 2019, 1:00-3:00 pm, at the Carroll County Arts Council, 91 W Main St., Westminster, MD 21157.

Region Two includes Anne Arundel, Calvert, Howard, Montgomery, and St. Mary's Counties. Its regional competition is Saturday, January 19, 2019, 1:00-3:00 pm, at the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, 1804 West St, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Region Three includes Caroline, Kent, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties. Its regional competition is Saturday, February 16, 2019, 1:00-3:00 pm, at the Sultana Education Foundation, Holt Center, 200 S Cross St, Chestertown, MD 21620.

Three finalists from each Maryland region will advance to the Maryland Poetry Out Loud State Finals, to be held March 2, 2019, 1:00-3:00 pm, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Judges will evaluate the nine participants on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance and name one Maryland State Champion. The state champion will receive a $1,200 prize from the NEA and MSAC and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in April 2019. The Maryland State Poetry Ourselves winner will receive a $300 prize.

For more information, log on to www.msac.org/poetry-out-loud

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