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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 National Finals of Poetry Out Loud @ Harman Center for the Arts (May 14/15: Washington D.C.)



WHAT: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation announce the 2012 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, May 14, 53 high school students who advanced from poetry recitation championships in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather at the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Suji Kwock Kim. Nine of the 53 state champions will advance to compete in the National Finals on Tuesday, May 15. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books. Michael J. Bobbitt, the award-winning producing artistic director of Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo, Maryland, will host the Tuesday evening finals.  The semifinals and finals will be webcast live. 
WHO:   Featured speakers and participants at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals: award-winning producing artistic director of Adventure Theatre Michael J. Bobbitt;  NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman; Poetry Foundation President John Barr; National Finals guest judges are poets Marilyn Chin and Major JacksonPBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown, Poetry Society of America Executive Director Alice Quinn, and Prairie Home Companion Host Garrison Keillor.
WHEN/WHERE:  Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals – Monday, May 14, 9:00 am - 8:00 pm, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St NW Washington, DC.  Media interview opportunities will take place 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 breakfast for 53 Poetry Out Loud champions – Tuesday, May 15, 9:00 am – 10:30 am.  Cannon House Office Building, Caucus Room, 3rd Floor, Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE, Washington, DC The breakfast 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, May 15, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St NW Washington, DC.  The nine National Finalists will be available for pre-event interviews from 6:00 - 6:30 pm.  Photo and interview opportunities with Finalists, judges, and featured speakers take place onstage after the event, 9:00 – 9:30 pm.
OTHER:  The Poetry Out Loud Semifinals and National Finals are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.  Both events will offer ASL interpretation.  For more information call 202-682-5551or visit arts.gov.
WEBCAST: The semifinals and finals can be viewed remotely through a closed captioned, one-time-only live webcast.
FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, hashtag #POLnews. 
CONTACT:           Media must RSVP to Sally Gifford, NEA Communications, 202-682-5606.  Video crews covering the Friday night National Finals must arrive by 6:45 pm to reserve a space.

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