Next month is National Poetry Month, and that means it’s time again for the annual Poetry Out Loud state finals. The POL competition pits teenagers against each other in dramatic readings of poetry, and the state winner gets $200 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals in April. This year two local teens have made it through: Mariah Boring of Wilson High School and Madison Hamel of Puyallup High School.
Tacoma has seen state champions before, including Stadium High’s Olivia Seward, who made it to the nationals in 2008. Last year the state finals were held at the University of Puget Sound; this year 12 contestants from around the state will declaim their best on Saturday afternoon. at South Puget Sound Community College. The winner will also get $500 for their school to buy poetry books, while the second place winner receives $100 plus $200 for their school.
Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Poetry Foundation. The national finals award $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, including a $20,000 college scholarship for the national champion.
The state competition runs from 1-5 p.m. March 20, and is free and open to the public. The Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts, SPSC, is at 2011 Mottman Rd SW, Olympia.