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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

EIGHT MARYLAND STUDENTS COMPETE FOR 10th POETRY OUT LOUD STATE TITLE

EIGHT MARYLAND STUDENTS COMPETE FOR 10th POETRY OUT LOUD STATE TITLE

Winner represents Maryland at the National Finals

February 27, 2015Press Release

More than 16,000 students in 16 counties have competed in the 2015 Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition, with the strongest eight advancing through a series of school, county and regional contests, culminating with the Poetry Out Loud Maryland State Finals on March 7, 2015, 1 p.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The student who places first at the POL Maryland State Final will represent Maryland at the POL national competition this April, where the top prize is $20,000 and a $500 stipend to the student’s school to purchase poetry books.

This is the 10th anniversary of the national poetry recitation contest, which is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is administered by state arts councils across the country.

Over the past decade, more than 98,000 Maryland students have participated in the POL Program, with a total of 2.6 million students participating nationwide. Through POL, students learn about their literary heritage, build self-confidence and improve their public speaking skills. Prior to the competition, finalists select three eligible poems from the POL Website.

After each of the three competition rounds, a panel of four judges evaluates the recitations based on the criteria of physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. Judges tally the evaluations after the first and second rounds, and the three top-scoring students advance to round three. The student with the highest score at the end of the third round is the 2015 POL Maryland Champion.

WHAT: Poetry Out Loud Maryland State Final

WHEN: Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Auditorium at the Baltimore Museum of Art

WHO: Eight student finalists – Tarea Anthony, Talbot County; Caleb Barnes, Baltimore County; Paige Hilton, Washington County; Rachel Langston, Anne Arundel County; Amy Nguyen, Talbot County; Blessed Sheriff, Montgomery County; Kyle Shreve, Frederick County and Spencer Tilghman, Wicomico County

The event is produced by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) and will be hosted by Aaron Henkin of WYPR’s The Signal, with performances by International singer/songwriter Ruut. Judges include Stewart Moss, Executive Director of The Writer’s Center, Carol Peck, an MSAC poet-in-residence, Jonathan Katz, former CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and Carla Du Pree, MSAC Councilor and former Executive Director of HoCoPoLitSo.

About the Maryland State Arts Council

An agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Maryland State Arts Council grantees generate $1 billion in economic activity and support more than 12,000 jobs and $45 million in state and local tax revenue. Source: Source: Economic Impact of the Arts in Maryland: FY2013. For information call (410) 767-6555 or TTY (410) 333-4519.

PHOTO: Akash Menon of Frederick County was Maryland’s 2014 Poetry Out Loud Champion. Pictured above with Billy Collins at the Blackbird Poetry Festival where Menon recited Collin’s poem, “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” with Collins in the audience.