(BOSTON) — Seventy-four high school students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will participate in four regional semi-final competitions March 1 and 2 as part of the ninth annual Poetry Out Loud. Semi-final competitions will be held in Boston (sponsored by Brookline Bank), Framingham, Springfield, and on Cape Cod. All upcoming competitions are free and open to the public.
More than 24,000 students from 84 Huntington Theatre Company-supported high schools across the Commonwealth competed in recent months in classroom and school-wide competitions. A complete list can be found at the end of this release.
Each student participating in the Semi-Finals recently won his or her individual school's competition. Semi-Final winners will advance to the State Finals on Sunday, March 9 at 9:30am at Boston's Olde South Meeting House. The Final competition will feature a performance by Langston Ward from Washington State, the 2013 POL National Champion, currently enrolled at Harvard University. The Huntington facilitates the Massachusetts competition with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Semi-Final Competition Information
Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation competition that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students' literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Since its inception eight years ago, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.
The Massachusetts POL winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC this coming spring to compete in the national finals.
Semi-Final judges and prompters include: Michael Ansara (co-founder of Mass Poetry) and Massachusetts poets Jamele Adams, Sam Cha, and Regina Cox. Adams and Cha will also perform.
"The study of poetry may be especially important for kids growing up in the age of tweets," observes Alison Lobron of The Boston Globe. "Close reading, after all, is essentially an act of listening; to learn a poem well enough to speak it aloud with confidence requires careful attention to someone else's words, someone else's experience. It means tuning out the clamor of voices competing for your attention — including your own — until you've fully heard what another person is saying.
The Massachusetts Semi-Final and Final Poetry Out Loud Competitions fall within the Massachusetts Legislature-declared Arts Education Month (March).
Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Huntington sponsor the Massachusetts contest; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation sponsor the competition on the national level.
Learn more about Poetry Out at huntingtontheatre.org/pol.
About the Huntington Theatre Company
Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The MCC is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.
Brookline Bank is a subsidiary of Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRKL) and is headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts. A full-service financial institution, Brookline Bank provides individuals and businesses with deposit and lending services, residential mortgages and home equity lending, commercial and CRE banking, cash management, merchant services, and access to investment services. Brookline Bank operates 23 branches in Greater Boston. Member FDIC / Member DIF.
2014 Participating High Schools
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School
Agawam High School
Algonquin Regional High School
Amherst Regional High School
Avon Middle High School
Barnstable High School
Beverly High School
Billerica Memorial High School
Bishop Feehan High School
Boston Adult Technical Academy
Boston College High School
Boston Latin School
British School of Boston
Brookline High School
Burlington High School
Codman Academy Public Charter School
Dartmouth High School
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School
Dracut Senior High School
East Boston High School
Elizabeth Seton Academy
Falmouth High School
Framingham High School
Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School
Global Learning Charter Public School
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School
Hanover High School
Harwich High School
Haverhill High School
High School of Commerce
Hingham High School
Holyoke High School
John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
Leominster High School
Lexington High School
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School
Malden High School
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
Masconomet Regional High School
Melrose High School
Milestones Day School
Minnechaug Regional High School
Monument Mountain Regional High School
Mt. Everett Regional High School
Needham High School
Newburyport High School
Norwell High School
Oliver Ames High School
Peabody Veterans Memorial High School
Pittsfield High School
Presentation of Mary Academy
Prospect Hill Academy Charter School
Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School
Randolph High School
Revere High School
Rockland High School
Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School
Salem Academy Charter School
Sandwich High School
Saugus High Svhool
South Hadley High School
Springfield Central High School
Stoneham High School
Sturgis Charter Public School East
Sturgis Charter Public School West
Swampscott High School
Taunton High School
Tyngsborough High School
West Springfield High School
Westfield High School
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
Wilbraham & Monson Academy
Wilmington High School
Winchester High School