Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Margaret Mitchell House and the Georgia Council for the Arts Announce Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest

On March 16, poetry recitation champions from 41 high schools across Georgia compete for first place in Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud in partnership with The Margaret Mitchell House and the Georgia Council for the Arts. Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. State champions will advance to the National Finals, to take place on April 28-29, 2008 in Washington, DC.

Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry – recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap mosaic amoung youth. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English or Drama class. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage

“Learning great poetry by heart develops the mind and imagination,” said Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “It isn’t just an arts program. By immersing themselves in powerful language and ideas, the student will develop their ability to speak well, especially in public. This is a skill they will use in the workplace and the community for the rest of their lives.”

The NEA and Poetry Foundation have partnered to provide administrative grants to state arts agencies, prizes for state and national winners, and will coordinate the National Finals next April. With this support, the Margaret Mitchell House has targeted high schools across Georgia.

Additionally, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation will provide state arts agencies with free, standard-based curriculum materials for use by participating schools. These materials include print and online poetry anthologies, a teacher’s guide with sample lesson plans to help instructors teach recitation and performance, and an audio CD featuring well-known actors and writers such as James Earl Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Alyssa Milano, and N. Scott Momaday. Program materials are available for download on the website,, which offers additional resources.

Poetry Out Loud prizes

Students who participate in the official Poetry Out Loud program may be eligible to compete in the state and National Finals in 2008. Each winner at the state level will receive $300 and all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete for national competition. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state will receive $150, with $200 for his or her school library, and the second runner-up will receive $100, with $100 for his or her school library. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit

The Margaret Mitchell House, Inc., was founded in 1985 to save and preserve the house where Margaret Mitchell lived and wrote the book Gone With the Wind. On August 1, 2004, the Margaret Mitchell House merged with the Atlanta History Center (AHC). As a result, the AHC oversees the operation of the Margaret Mitchell House, Gone With The Wind Movie Museum, Visitors Center, Museum Shop, and The Literary Center as a permanent landmark, a literary center, and a tourist attraction.
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