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Poetry out loud

Oregon arts commission announces its second annual poetry out loud national recitation contest.

The Oregon Arts Commission, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Poetry Foundation, invites high schools in Oregon to participate in "Poetry Out Loud," a national initiative that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

Participating high schools will organize Poetry Out Loud recitation contests late this fall and winter. Winners from each high school will be eligible to participate in a statewide competition on March 10, 2007 in Salem.

The winner of Oregon's statewide competition will receive $200 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC for the National Finals. The state winner's school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for the school library. A runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

The National Endowment for the Arts will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals, with at least a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud Champion.

Approximately 20 high schools in Oregon will be selected to participate in the "Poetry Out Loud" program by submitting a brief application to the Oregon Arts Commission.

Applications may be downloaded from the Oregon Arts Commission website: or requested from the Commission office, at (503) 986-0082.or at artscomm@state.or.us.

Applications from high schools are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov.1

"Poetry Out Loud" builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, demonstrated by the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among American youth.

The program encourages Oregon's young people to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and internalize our rich literary heritage.

"The National Poetry Recitation Contest brings new energy to an ancient art by returning it to the classrooms of America", said John Barr, President of The Poetry Foundation, a co-sponsor of Poetry Out Loud.

"The public recitation of great poetry is a way to honor the speaker, the poem, and the audience all at once. Hearing a poem spoken aloud, we discover that a poem is before anything else an event of the ear. In the hands of the poet our everyday speech becomes a musical instrument. The meaning of the poem, we find, lies as much in the sound of its words as in their sense."

More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available at .