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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Poetry Out Loud (POL)

Poetry Out Loud (POL)

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Poetry Out Loud: Celebrating Poetry in Maryland Schools

The words of great poets literally come to life in Poetry Out Loud (POL), a literary arts program created by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. Through MSAC support, students across Maryland are enriched by this national arts education program that encourages the mastery of great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Since 2005, nearly 4.7 million students have competed in Poetry Out Loud nationwide. That's almost 4.7 million students who have learned at least one poem by heart! In Maryland, approximately 129,000 students have participated in the program, learning the power of poetry firsthand.

Caption: 2020 Maryland State Champion Randolph Smith.

 

2020-21 Maryland Poetry Out Loud 

For the 2020-2021 year, the Maryland State Poetry Out Loud competition will be held virtually! Students (who want to independently participate), educators, and community organizers are encouraged to register indicating their intent to submit student poetry recitation videos for competition consideration. Poetry Out Loud is a great opportunity for a remote and hybrid student learning project. You can showcase your students' creativity in a new, fun, digitally engaging way! See our downloadable materials section for more information about our timeline, competition structure, and toolkits.

24 students will compete across two virtual regional competitions for a spot at the Maryland State Competition in March! Click here to register!

 

2021 Maryland Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition 1

Monday, February 8, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Register for the Regional Competition 1

Regional Competition 1 will represent Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, and Washington counties.

POL Regional Competition 1 Judges

Arao Ameny is a Ugandan-born poet and writer based in Baltimore, Maryland. Arao is a dual citizen of Uganda and the US. Arao is  a graduate of University of Baltimore's MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts program. Arao has an MA in Journalism from Indiana University and a BA in Political Science from University of Indianapolis. Arao loves poetry and prose equally and passionately. Arao’s debut poem 'Home is a Woman' about women's land rights in Uganda was recently published in one of the top US literary journals The Southern Review based at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Arao was accepted to the prestigious Kenyon Review Writers Workshop for summer 2020.

John Pruessner achieved the degree of distinction in the old National Forensics League through high school debate and forensics teams, in Wyandotte High School, Kansas City, KS. Studied poetry and creative writing at Columbia College, Columbia, MO, still writing in his spare time. MFA in Acting from the George Washington University. Currently a company member in the Annapolis Shakespeare Company (annapolisshakespeare.org). Parishioner and choir member, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Gaithersburg, MD. 

Sam Saper is a writer and poet from Baltimore. They graduated from UMBC in 2018, where they were the poetry editor of UMBC's literary magazine Bartleby, and where they wrote and staged the full-length original musical "You Gotta Live!" Most recently, they worked at the Red Emma's bookstore. They are quarantining with family in Owings Mills.

Valerie Lash has been both a faculty member and an academic administrator at Howard Community College since 1982. A full professor of Theatre, she serves as the Dean of Arts and Humanities. In addition to these traditional academic roles, Valerie is the Founding Producer and Artistic Director of Rep Stage, HCC’s regional professional Equity theatre in residence. As a professional actor, she has done most of her roles at Rep Stage, and her performances have been highly acclaimed in local and regional press. Her work in arts education was recognized when she received the Howard County Arts Council’s “Howie Award” as Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year. She led the college into being honored by the Council with its rarely given “Legacy in the Arts” lifetime achievement award. She was also inducted into the Howard County’s Women’s Hall of Fame and named one of Howard County’s “Women of Achievement.” Her commitment and belief in the power of the arts to “change lives” has served as the foundation for artistic and cultural programming under her direction. Valerie and the Arts and Humanities faculty and staff make a significant contribution to the cultural, economic and social development of the community. 

2021 Maryland Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition 2

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Register for the Regional Competition 2

Regional 2 will represent Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.

POL Regional Competition 2 Judges

Ali Oliver-Krueger is the Artistic Director of InterAct Story Theatre, an educational theatre company based in Wheaton. An artistic jack of all trades, Ali's broad arts and humanities background includes work as a director/playwright, composer, writer, performer, teaching artist, puppet builder, clown choreographer, and scholar. Her love of poetry dates back to elementary school, and in high school, Ali was an award-winning competitor in prose and poetry interpretation, dramatic interpretation, and debate; she has since coached and judged competitions in these categories, and is inspired by student writing and interpretation when engaging in her own creative work.

Catrice Greer is a writer and poet residing in Baltimore, Maryland. Her poetry has most recently been published, in the Silver Spring Town Center Newsletter, and in, the historic, Afro-American Newspaper. She refines her poetic ear and skillset avidly through stateside and UK poetry workshops. From time to time, she performs her traditional and spoken word poetry in virtual open mic events and readings. Some of the foci, of Ms. Greer's poetry, include the human condition, mental health awareness, transcendence, healing, self-actualization, spirituality, music, nature, and the sciences. She is an alumna, of UMBC, who earned a baccalaureate degree in English Literature.

Curry Rose Hoskey has been a school librarian in Prince George’s County for 16 years. Poetry has always held a special place in their heart for its ability to reach the reader’s emotions in ways that prose cannot. Over the years, Curry Rose has encouraged and guided young poets in our county’s writing competition as well as supported teachers in their poetry units and in celebration of National Poetry Month every April. As a theater major in college and the veteran of many high school Forensics competitions, Curry Rose also has experience with the intensity and artistry of the preparation and presentation of texts in a performance context. 

Desiree Witt holds a B.S. in Music Education and M. Ed. in Dance Education from Frostburg State University. A member of MENC/MMEA, she holds a Maryland State Teaching certificate for Music K-12 and has been teaching in the state of Maryland for over 30 years. Ms. Witt has been on the faculty of Morgantown Dance Studio in Morgantown, West Virginia since 1984 and is currently the Director of Community Productions. She has worked extensively directing, choreographing, and/or performing in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella among many. Cumberland work includes Camp Director for “Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance Musical Theatre Workshop” at Allegany College of Maryland, Theatre Director at Allegany High School, and past President for the Cumberland Choral Society. Witt has directed, choreographed, produced, music directed over 100 productions in various forms from choral music, musicals, ballets, plays, to variety shows."

Wednesday, March 9, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Registration for the State Competition will open soon!

POL State Competition Judges

Ali Oliver-Krueger is the Artistic Director of InterAct Story Theatre, an educational theatre company based in Wheaton. An artistic jack of all trades, Ali's broad arts and humanities background includes work as a director/playwright, composer, writer, performer, teaching artist, puppet builder, clown choreographer, and scholar. Her love of poetry dates back to elementary school, and in high school, Ali was an award-winning competitor in prose and poetry interpretation, dramatic interpretation, and debate; she has since coached and judged competitions in these categories, and is inspired by student writing and interpretation when engaging in her own creative work.

Arao Ameny is a Ugandan-born poet and writer based in Baltimore, Maryland. Arao is a dual citizen of Uganda and the US. Arao is  a graduate of University of Baltimore's MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts program. Arao has an MA in Journalism from Indiana University and a BA in Political Science from University of Indianapolis. Arao loves poetry and prose equally and passionately. Arao’s debut poem 'Home is a Woman' about women's land rights in Uganda was recently published in one of the top US literary journals The Southern Review based at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Arao was accepted to the prestigious Kenyon Review Writers Workshop for summer 2020.

Desiree Witt holds a B.S. in Music Education and M. Ed. in Dance Education from Frostburg State University. A member of MENC/MMEA, she holds a Maryland State Teaching certificate for Music K-12 and has been teaching in the state of Maryland for over 30 years. Ms. Witt has been on the faculty of Morgantown Dance Studio in Morgantown, West Virginia since 1984 and is currently the Director of Community Productions. She has worked extensively directing, choreographing, and/or performing in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella among many. Cumberland work includes Camp Director for “Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance Musical Theatre Workshop” at Allegany College of Maryland, Theatre Director at Allegany High School, and past President for the Cumberland Choral Society. Witt has directed, choreographed, produced, music directed over 100 productions in various forms from choral music, musicals, ballets, plays, to variety shows."

Grace Cavalieri was appointed Maryland Poet Laureate on November 7, 2018 by Governor Larry Hogan. Grace Cavalieri is the author of 20 books and chapbooks of poetry, the latest are Other Voices, Other Lives (ASP, 2017;) and Life Upon The Wicked Stage: A Memoir (NAP/Scarith, 2015.) She's also written texts and lyrics performed for opera, television and film and has had 26 plays produced on American stages. Grace teaches poetry workshops throughout the country at numerous colleges. She produced and hosted "The Poet and the Poem," weekly, on WPFW-FM (1977-1997) presenting more than 2,000 poets to the nation. She now presents this series to public radio from the Library of Congress via NPR satellite and Pacifica Radio, celebrating 42 years on air in 2019. Grace has received the 2013 George Garrett Award, the Pen-Fiction Award, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal, and awards from the National Commission on Working Women, the WV Commission on Women, the American Association of University Women, The DC Poet Laureate Award from Dolores Kendrick, the Paterson lifetime Achievement Award, among others. She won a Paterson Excellence Award for What I Would do for Love, and The Bordighera Poetry Prize for Water on the Sun. She received the inaugural Columbia Merit Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library for "significant contributions to poetry.

Jeff Smallwood is a regular participant in poetry events around the Maryland suburbs, Annapolis, and Southern Maryland. He has been the featured poet at the Crofton Library Poetry Series hosted by Susan Sonde. Jeff has been a regular contributor to the Poet's Circle workshop in Prince Frederick since 2016 and participates in workshops and open-mics regularly with other poets in the region at events such as Words Out Loud (Rockville), Evil Grin (Annapolis), Spiral Staircase (Annapolis), New Deal Poetry (Greenbelt). In 2018 his poetry and artwork was featured in a month-long poetry/photography ekphastic display at the Twin Beaches library. Most recently his poetry was published in the book "Pax", an anthology of Southern Maryland poets. Jeff works professionally as a software engineer at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and lives in Prince Frederick, MD. Jeff also served as a 2020 POL Regional and State Judge.

 

Poetry Out Loud Masterclasses

Join MSAC and the Maryland State Department of Education’s Fine Arts Office for an M:BRACE Poetry Out Loud Masterclass series! In each class, previous Poetry Out Loud judges will share tips and tricks on how to perfect a poetry recitation while acing the Poetry Out Loud judging criteria. Attend one or all. Open to students, educators, and competition hosts. 

 

Monday, November 9, 3-4:30pm: PHYSICAL PRESENCE led by Gayle Danley

Soon after crushing the competition at Asheville's National Poetry Slam in 1994, Gayle Danley entered America's classrooms teaching thousands of children how to access their emotions through the force of words. She performed and taught her way from Maryland Young Audience's Artist of the Year, to National Young Audiences Artist of the Year. She's also both a former national and international poetry slam champion. CBS 60 Minutes profiled her work with middle schoolers in Baltimore County. She's appeared in the  Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and New York Times. Gayle was recently named Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year.

 

Monday, November 16, 3-4:30pm: VOICE AND ARTICULATION and DRAMATIC APPROPRIATENESS led by Unique Robinson

Unique Robinson is a writer/performer, professor, & proud Baltimore native. She received her MFA in English from Mills College, and a BA in Creative Writing/Black Studies from Hampshire College. She has served in Teaching Artist and administrative roles for nonprofits in Baltimore, and received the Emerging Teaching Artist award from Arts Every Day. She also co-founded blkottonkandy, an arts & wellness initiative, which received the Grit Fund Grant in 2019. She has published two books, flicked/forgotten/FREED, and Four Wings & A Prayer. Currently, she is Humanistic Studies Faculty at MICA, and a Poetry/Theater Teaching Artist with City Schools.

 

Monday, November 23, 3-4:30pm: EVIDENCE OF UNDERSTANDING, OVERALL PERFORMANCE led by Melodie Charles and James Magruder

James Magruder has published three books of fiction: Sugarless (2009), Let Me See It (2014), and Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall (2016). His adaptations of works by Molière, Marivaux, Lesage, Labiche, Gozzi, Dickens, Hofmannsthal, and Giraudoux have been staged on and off-Broadway, and across the country. He co-wrote the book—in blank verse—for the Go-Go’s musical, Head Over Heels, which ran for six months on Broadway in 2018.

 

Melodie Charles has been an editor of bad books, including everything from poetry to politics. She has taught English to students from fourth to twelfth grade, always including a poetry unit. For the chorus she sings with, she helped the music director design a concert of songs based on texts from Shakespeare and another concert of songs with American poetry for lyrics. For that concert, she coached POL students who performed poetry recitations between songs. She currently edits grant application reviews for the Department of Justice, material without a speck of poetry in it.

 

2020-21 MD Poetry Out Loud Timeline and Competition Structure

2020-21 Pre-Regional Video Submission Instructions

2020-21 Judge’s Guide

 

 

Poetry Out Loud 2020-2021 Webinar PDF Version