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The Maryland State Arts Council presented the 2011Maryland Poetry Out Loud Finals on February 26, 2011 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. An audience of more than 175 listened as Kari Barclay was named the 2011 Maryland Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Pictured:James L. Tucker, Jr., Fine Arts Coordinator, Maryland State Dept. of Educ.; Jamila Anderson, third place winner, Baltimore County; Susan Muaddi Darraj, Assoc. Prof. of English, Harford Community College, Kari Barclay, Maryland State Champion, Montgomery County; Gayle Danley, MSAC performing artist-in-residence; Kate Moran, second place winner, Talbot County; Stanley Plumly, Maryland Poet Laureate.

March 03, 2011Press Release

“The contest is a great way to teach poetry and help students develop their communication skills,” said William Mandicott, MSAC Chair, “and the youth are inspired by the great poetry as are we when we hear their recitations.”

Mr. Barclay, a junior from Richard Montgomery High in Montgomery County recited the poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town” by e.e. cummings. He wins a $200 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the National Finals held in Washington, D.C. April 29, 2010 at the Lincoln Theatre. His school wins a $500 stipend to purchase books of poetry.

Kate Moran, a senior from Saints Peter and Paul High in Talbot County placed second, and Jamila Anderson, a sophomore at New Town High in Baltimore County, placed third. Ms. Moran wins a $100 prize, and her school, Saints Peter and Paul High, wins a $200 stipend.

The event was hosted by Aaron Henkin of WYPR’s “Tapestry of the Times” and “The Signal” with singer, songwriter, and Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) Individual Artist Award winner Ellen cherry provided musical interludes. The event was attended by William Mandicott, MSAC Chair; Abby Hoffman, MSAC Vice-Chair; and Theresa Colvin, MSAC Executive Director.

This year’s competition was open to grades 10, 11 and 12 in all Maryland schools, both public and private. The 2011-2012 competition will include 9th graders as well. Forty-six schools in thirteen counties participated. Nine county finalists chosen from three regional competitions for counties across the state, including Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, competed for the title.

A distinguished panel of judges selected the winners after the poetry recitations. Judges were Stanley Plumly, Maryland’s Poet Laureate; James L. Tucker, Jr., Fine Arts Coordinator with the Maryland State Department of Education; Gayle Danley, slam poet and MSAC performing artist-in-residence; and Susan Muaddi Darraj, Associate Professor of English at Harford Community College and Senior Editor of The Baltimore Review.

Poetry Out Loud is a National Recitation Contest for students. The Maryland State Arts Council conducts the Poetry Out Loud state program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, which award more than $50,000 in prizes and stipends to students and schools at the state and national levels. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to the school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud visit the website at
For more information about the Maryland competition visit, or email Program Director Chris Stewart at

The Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. The lastest economic impact report show that Maryland State Arts Council grantees’ activities support more than 12,000 jobs and generate $1.4 billion in local economic activity and $41.4 million in state and local taxes. For information on MSAC visit or call 410-767-6555 or TTY 410- 333-4519.