Washington, DC — The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation announce the 2009 National Finals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. On Monday April 27, high school students who advanced from 53 poetry recitation championships in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium, to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry. Twelve of the 53 state champions will advance to compete in the National Finals on Tuesday, April 28. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in scholarship prizes and school stipends. Special guest judges include radio personality Garrison Keillor, actress Tyne Daly, poets Patricia Smith and Luis Rodriguez. Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant will give a special performance of poetry-inspired songs. Scott Simon of National Public Radio returns to serve as master of ceremonies.
Featured speakers and participants at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals: NEA Acting Chairman Patricia Walker Powell; Poetry Foundation President John Barr; Garrison Keillor, host of the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion”; actress Tyne Daly; poets Patricia Smith, Suji Kwock Kim, and Luis Rodriguez; and singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant, and Scott Simon of National Public Radio.
Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals – Monday, April 27, 9:00 am - 8:00 pm, Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. There will be media interview opportunities immediately after each semifinal round.
· 9:00 am – 12:00 pm - First Semifinal: students from East Central and Northeast States
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm - Second Semifinal: students from Midwest and South Central states
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm - Third Semifinal: students from Upper Northwest and Western states
Congressional luncheon for 53 Poetry Out Loud champions – Tuesday, April 28, 12:00 pm - 1:45 pm, Russell Senate Office Building, Caucus Room, entrance at Delaware and Constitution Ave., NE, Washington, DC. The luncheon for all 53 champions will feature visits by Members of Congress. This event is not open to the public.
Poetry Out Loud National Finals - Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 - 10:00 pm, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. National Finalists will be available for pre-event interviews from 5:45 - 6:15 pm. Immediately after the event (10pm), Finalists and judges will be available for interview.
OTHER: The Poetry Out Loud Semifinals and National Finals are free and open to the public; no reservations or tickets are necessary. For more information call 202-682-5577.
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