2019 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals to Be Held March 10 and 11 in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, CA – High-school students from 52 counties across California will compete in a statewide recitation contest at the 14th annual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals on March 10 and 11 in Sacramento.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation and administered statewide by the California Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Participants master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. California’s Poetry Out Loud is the largest event of its kind in the U.S., and has grown steadily since its inception. The 2019 competition series encompasses 52 counties, 305 schools, and 730 teachers, reaching nearly 60,600 students statewide.

The 14th annual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals will kick off Sunday, March 10 at the California State Library, Room 500 of the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building. County champions will be divided into two semifinal heats — Northern Counties, set to start at 10 a.m., followed by the Southern Counties at 2:30 p.m. At the end of each heat, the top scoring students will advance to recite once more during a third and final round taking place the following day, March 11, at 9 a.m. inside the Senate chambers at the state Capitol. The final tally will determine this year’s state champion, an honor that includes a $200 cash prize, $500 toward literary materials for the winner’s school, and an all-expense paid trip to and a chance to win the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C. at the end of April. 

Monday’s final program will also include a group recitation by all participating students and a certificates and awards ceremony honoring each county champion.

This year’s Poetry Out Loud finalists will also be able to join in a new creative writing contest, Poetry Ourselves. The National Endowment for the Arts added Poetry Ourselves to the national event in 2016, and the California Arts Council now offers the opportunity at the state level. County champions are invited to submit an original written poem of no more than 50 lines, to be judged anonymously by a guest poet. The winner of Poetry Ourselves receives $100 and an opportunity to recite their poem at Monday’s final program. A runner-up will also be recognized at the event, and both poems will be published on the California Arts Council’s website.

“This event is truly one of our most cherished times of year here at the California Arts Council,” said Anne Bown-Crawford, Director of the California Arts Council. “Poetry Out Loud offers us all a front-row seat to California’s next generation as they harness the powerful weight of words, and find agency through art. The thoughtful, bold, and energetic young people who participate each year give us faith in the creative future of our state.”

The 2019 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals are free and open to the public, although space may be limited. For more details about the two-day final event and the state POL program, visit the program website at capoetryoutloud.org. A list of all of the state finalists, their high schools, and counties can also be found here.

Participating Counties
Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in at the 2019 California Poetry Out Loud State Finals: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

About Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud inspires in high school students the confidence to make themselves heard, using one of the most powerful tools at their disposal—art. Students are given the opportunity to interact with the words of the masters through recitation, building a relationship with the works and creating a sense of shared ownership branded by their own technique of volume, pitch, pace, and personal point of view.

The California Poetry Out Loud State Finals is the 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 state champion receives $200 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national Poetry Out Loud finals, paid for by the National Endowment from the Arts. The winner’s school will also receive $500 for library materials. The State Finals runner-up will receive a $100 cash prize, with $200 awarded to their school for book purchases. Competing at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals presents the opportunity for approximately $50,000 in scholarship funds and related winnings.

Live Webcast
Monday’s competition will be webcast live by Senate TV at the following link: http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast.

Event Program
The 2019 California Poetry Out Loud event program, including detailed listings on the student finalists, can be viewed at this link: https://view.publitas.com/ca-arts-council/2019-california-poetry-out-loud-state-finals-program.

Additional past photos available upon request. Contact Kimberly Brown at kimberly.brown@arts.ca.gov. A photo release including images of the State Champion and finalists will be issued the afternoon of March 11, 2018.

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The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Juan Devis, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, and Louise McGuinness. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit http://arts.ca.gov/aboutus/language.php.

Kimberly Brown

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