National Endowment for the Arts Announces Washington Region Finals for National Poetry Recitation Contest
Washington-area high schools bring great poems to life during National Poetry Month
March 14, 2005
Washington, DC - On Tuesday, April 19, the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, will convene the Washington Region Finals for the pilot phase of the NEA's National Poetry Recitation Project. The Washington-area finals will be hosted at the Folger Shakespeare Library at 201 East Capitol Street, SE, at 7:30 p.m. An all-star panel of judges will select the Washington Region Recitation Champion. The Washington-area finals are part of a pilot program that the Endowment plans to implement nationally in 2006.
In its landmark "Reading at Risk" survey released last year, the Arts Endowment documented an increasing rate of decline in literary reading, especially among younger readers. To encourage the nation's youth to learn about great poetry, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation are jointly supporting the National Poetry Recitation Contest. Together they have developed a program curriculum including a teacher guidebook and an original audio CD featuring poetry readings and commentary by distinguished actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins, Rita Dove, and Alyssa Milano.
"By performing great works of literature, students can master public-speaking, build self-confidence, and learn more about their literary heritage," said Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
More than 4,000 students at ten Washington-area middle- and high schools are testing the curriculum materials in classroom and schoolwide recitation competitions, culminating with the regional poetry recitation contest at the Folger Shakespeare Library. On April 19, judges will select one regional champion, who will receive a $1,000 cash award, and two runners-up, who will each receive $500. The winning student's school will receive a $2,000 stipend for the purchase of poetry books, and the schools of the runners-up will each receive $1,000 for poetry books.
In addition to the Washington, DC pilot, the Poetry Foundation will manage a similar pilot program and regional competition among Chicago-area high schools, to culminate with an April 11th recitation event at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
The Endowment and its partners will evaluate the pilot programs from Washington, DC and Chicago later this year. There are plans for the resulting standards-based curriculum to be made available to high school students nationwide.
The National Poetry Recitation Contest pilot program is being administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, which celebrates, promotes, and supports the richness and diversity of the region's arts resources, and works to increase access to the arts and cultures of the region and the world.
Participating Washington-Area Schools in National Poetry Recitation Contest
The Washington-area schools participating in the National Poetry Recitation Contest are: Banneker High School, Washington, DC; Bell Multicultural High School, Washington, DC; Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Washington, DC; Wilson High School, Washington, DC; Seed Public Charter School, Washington, DC; Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA; Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, VA; H.B. Woodlawn High School, Arlington, VA; Yorktown High School, Arlington, VA; and the Avalon School, Rockville, MD.
The event takes place on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Folger Shakespeare Library Theater, 201 East Capitol Street, SE. Attendance at the Folger event is free and open to the public, although seating is limited. For further information, call the Folger Shakespeare Library box office at 202-544-7077.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. The Foundation publishes Poetry magazine, sponsors a variety of public programs, and supports creative projects in literature.
About Folger Poetry
As one of several cultural programs sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library, Folger Poetry is committed to developing a wide audience for poetry in the nation's Capital. Now in its 36th season, Folger Poetry provides a stage for contemporary poetry's most eloquent voices. The Folger Poetry-in-Schools program brings world-renowned poets into Washington, DC public high schools to conduct workshops and classroom visits. Home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger Shakespeare Library hosts significant scholarly research, exhibitions, cultural programs and the performing arts. To learn more about the Folger and its cultural programs, visit www.folger.edu.
For further information on the National Poetry Recitation Contest, or the National Endowment for the Arts, contact the NEA Office of Communications at 202-682-5570.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency