CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Thirty-eight students from across West Virginia will recite poems by Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, C.K. Williams, Charleston native Rita Mae Reese, and many others during the 2016 state Poetry Out Loud competition set for March 4-5, 2016, at the Culture Center in Charleston.
The winner will represent West Virginia at the national Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, D.C., on May 2-4.
Television and screen actor Chris Sarandon of Beckley will serve as master of ceremonies for the state competition again this year. Sarandon guest starred on such television series as Chicago Hope, The Good Wife, The Practice and Law and Order SVU. His movie performances include Dog Day Afternoon, The Princess Bride, Child’s Play, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Safe and Loggerheads. Sarandon has been the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud master of ceremonies since 2007.
The semi-final competition begins with Division I at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 4, followed by Division II at 2:30 p.m. Saturday’s final competition begins at 1 p.m. West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman and musician Kaia Kater will perform during the finals on Saturday. All sessions are free and open to the public.
Harshman will serve as a judge, along with West Virginia author and songwriter Colleen Anderson; Dr. Kent Shaw, professor of literature and creative writing at West Virginia State University; Megan Atkinson, founder and director of Barter Theatre’s Project REAL; Heather Hutchens, General Counsel for the West Virginia Department of Education; and Charleston author and poet Ace Boggess.
(A list of students competing in this year’s contest and the schools they represent is included below.)
The state champion receives $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to the national finals. The school receives $500 to purchase poetry books. The runner-up receives $100, while the school receives $200 for poetry books.
This year, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts commissioned Gilmer County artist Matt Thomas to create the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud champion trophy and a companion award that will be displayed at the winning school. Students will also receive original works by West Virginia artists Morgan Richards, Matt Thomas and G.W. Lanham.
Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. The program is designed to encourage high school-age students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
For more information, contact Jim Wolfe, arts in education coordinator, at (304) 558-0240 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org.
ALPHABETICAL SCHOOL LIST WITH STUDENT COMPETITORS:
Sydney Hosfeld – Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Upshur County
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