FRANKFORT, Ky. — Applications are open for schools that want to participate in Poetry Out Loud, the national poetry recitation competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation and the Kentucky Arts Council. Schools may apply online at the arts council website.

Last year, 18 Kentucky schools participated in Poetry Out Loud, which begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to school-wide competition, then to the state competition and ultimately to the national finals. Last year, more than 300,000 students participated in the Poetry Out Loud program in 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

"Poetry Out Loud creates excitement in schools about the art of poetry and performance," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "The program provides teachers with lesson plans tied to national standards, and students have the opportunity to work with a teaching artist to enhance the experience."

The winner of the Kentucky state finals, held in Frankfort in the spring, will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 going to his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be awarded at the national finals.

Participating classrooms receive a hands-on workshop with an arts council teaching artist, suggestions for memorization as well as interpretation of the poetic structure, free multimedia curriculum materials including a teacher’s guide, poetry anthologies, audio guides and posters.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. For more information about Poetry Out Loud in Kentucky, contact Jean St. John at jean.stjohn@ky.gov or 502-564-3757, ext. 486. For a general overview of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

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