California Arts Council

State of California
 

Press Release Detail

Contact:
March 10, 2014Caitlin Fitzwater
916-324-6617

caitlin.fitzwater@arts.ca.gov

California Poetry Out Loud State Finals Slated for March 23rd and 24th in Sacramento

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Judges include California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera,  Filmmaker Christopher Coppola, and Poet and Arts Leader Frances Phillips

Record number of counties participating this year

SACRAMENTO - Tens of thousands of high school students analyzed, memorized and recited their poems in California, but only a few dozen will stand on the state Senate floor in the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals.

The California Poetry Out Loud competition takes place on Sunday, March 23 (Round 1) and Monday, March 24 (Round 2 and Round 3). The events on Monday will take place in the state Senate Chamber and be recorded by the multi-media staff in the Senate and televised and/or webcast live on the California Channel (http://www.calchannel.com). The California Channel won a Telly award in 2008 for their program about that year's state finals.

This year marks the ninth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual competition - the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in 35 California counties participating. The program encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

"Poetry Out Loud engages thousands of California's high school students, helping them to build self-confidence, master the art of public speaking, and learn to love the written word," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "This year, we're proud to partner with thirty-five counties across California, making this our largest Poetry Out Loud State Final to date."

The Arts Council's 2014 California Poetry Out Loud state finals are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Hewlett Foundation and are expected to be standing-room only, based on the excitement generated statewide and attendance in previous years.

Participating Counties

Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in the state Capitol: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

About Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud State Finals is California's culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee). The California Poetry Out Loud champion will win $200 from the NEA and go on to compete in Washington, DC in April, with the winner's school receiving $500 for poetry books. The California runner-up receives $100 from the NEA, with his or her school receiving $200 for books. At stake for the national finals is approximately $50,000 in scholarships and related winnings.

Public Attendance

As space will be limited, members of the public interested in attending the competition should contact Poetry Out Loud coordinator Kristin Margolis at kmargolis@arts.ca.gov. More general information, including a list of poems the students may choose to recite, can be found at www.arts.ca.gov/poetryoutloud/.

Members of the press interested in California's Poetry Out Loud program should contact Caitlin Fitzwater at (916) 324-6617 or caitlin.fitzwater@arts.ca.gov.

About the Judges

Christopher Coppola is the Director of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and a member of the California Arts Council. As President of Christopher R. Coppola Enterprises, Christopher Coppola has been a champion of, and leader in, digital media for over a decade. Since 1987 he has directed eight feature films and numerous television shows as well as developing and producing content for alternative distribution and interactive platforms. Coppola is deeply committed to education. His educational initiatives include helping to build a High Definition Research Laboratory at the San Francisco Art Institute, Coppola's alma mater. The state-of-the-art lab provides equipment for shooting, editing and viewing, enabling students and visiting artists to discover new, artistic uses for high definition technology. Coppola is in demand as a speaker and panelist, particularly on the topic of digital filmmaking. In 2006 he created Project Accessible Hollywood (PAH), a nonprofit organization that brings digital empowerment to underserved communities and individuals worldwide. A member of the prolific Coppola family, Christopher studied music composition at University of Redlands School of Music and film at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and serves on the Independent Directors Committee.

Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed California Poet Laureate by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on March 21, 2012. Mr. Herrera is the author of twenty-nine books in various genres including children's books, young adult novels, stories and poetry, and currently serves as serves as Professor of poetry in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He was a professor and chair of Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University, Fresno, from 1990 to 2004. Herrera's work has received wide critical acclaim including numerous national and international awards. The son of migrant workers from Mexico, Mr. Herrera earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology from Stanford University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa. He was elected to the Board of Chancellors for the Academy of American Poets in 2011, was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry in 2010, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry in 2009, in 2008, the PEN USA Award and two Latino Hall of Fame Awards in 2002 and 2000. Mr. Herrera's forthcoming book will be on Latina and Latino heroes.

Frances Phillips is program director for arts and the Creative Work Fund at the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in San Francisco. Prior to her foundation work, Phillips was executive director of Intersection for the Arts (1986-94)-San Francisco's oldest alternative arts space-and director and assistant director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University (1980-86). She teaches Creative Writing and Grantwriting at San Francisco State University. Phillips is the author of three small press books of poetry from Kelsey Street Press and Hanging Loose Press. She served as a reviewer and poetry review editor for The Hungry Mind Review and also has published book reviews in Montemora, Poetry Flash, The San Jose Mercury News, The Washington Post, and other publications. With Stan Hutton, she co-authored The Nonprofit Kit for Dummies (fourth edition published in November 2013). Last year, she interviewed Margaret Atwood and Jamaica Kincaid on stage for City Arts & Lectures of San Francisco.


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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Wylie Aitken, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Christopher Coppola, Donn K. Harris, Charmaine Jefferson, William Turner, and Rosalind Wyman.






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