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Each spring the Kentucky Arts Council hosts the state-wide Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students. Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation and state arts agencies like the Kentucky Arts Council. Its purpose is to promote the art of poetry in both the classroom and the community and to encourage students to learn poetry through memorization and performance.
Students who participate master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about our nation’s literary heritage.
A Grant County High School student, Amy MacAdams recently competed in Kentucky’s Poetry Out Loud school championship along with 16 other students from different schools across the state. MacAdams read three poems “Vigil Strange I Kept On The Field One Night” by Walt Whitman, “Monet Refuses The Operation” by Lisel Mueller and “The Obligation To Be Happy” by Linda Pastan.
Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state competition and ultimately to the national finals held in April in Washington, D.C.
MacAdams did not place in the top five at the state-wide competition.
“She did a great job through the two rounds and in my opinion, should have been among the top five.” Scott Gibbons, Poetry Out Loud District Coordinator, said.
In Kentucky, every participating classroom receives funding for a hands-on workshop with an arts council teaching artist. Participating schools receive free curriculum materials, including a teacher’s guide, poetry anthologies, audio guides and posters.