Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids Towns

SOPAC Hosts Poetry Out Loud Competition for Teens


2014 New Jersey State Champion Natasha Simone Vargas "Ecology" by Jack Collom "A Locked House" by W.D. Snodgrass "Thoughtless Cruelty" by Charles Lamb © James Kegley
2014 New Jersey State Champion Natasha Simone Vargas © James Kegley

For the second year in a row, South Orange Performing Arts Center has been selected by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to host the New Jersey Region 5 preliminary rounds of competition of the Poetry Out Loud program.

Columbia High School champion Aliyah Salomon will participate in the competition.

The event takes place on Wednesday, February 11 at 10 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

Now in its tenth year of national competition, Poetry Out Loud, presented in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, 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.

Contestants recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 800 classic and contemporary poems.

This year in Region 5 — Essex and Union counties — 130 teachers and more than 4,500 students from 30 high schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud school program. Two winners from the regional competitions will advance to the NJ State finals on Friday, March 13, 2015 at Princeton University as part of the Princeton Poetry Festival.

Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to compete in the National Finals, and the state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.  The New Jersey State Champion will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals on April 28‐29, 2015 in Washington, DC, at the Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University in Washington, DC where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

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