Nevada’s Poetry Out Loud competition, which started in the fall with nearly 3,600 high school students participating, is winnowing down to semifinal rounds this month in advance of the state finals on March 3 in Reno.
District champions representing Douglas, Clark, Elko, Storey, Lyon, Pershing and Washoe counties will be determined during semifinal competitions this month. Carson City held its district event in November.
Each district will send a champion to the Nevada State Finals, which will be held at KNPB with the state champion advancing to represent Nevada at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals April 23-25 in Washington, D.C.
Structured similarly to the National Spelling Bee, Poetry Out Loud is focused on literary heritage through memorization and performance of classic and contemporary works.
“The talent and confidence we see in students, who get on stage and make these works their own, is just really remarkable,” said Maryjane Dorofachuk, arts learning director for the Nevada Arts Council, a sponsor of the program. “These teenagers inspire and they learn that words matter.”
Those interested in seeing a school competition and supporting McQueen High School can attend the school’s event on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at Grace Church, 1220 Robb Drive., Reno. Admission is $5.
Upcoming regional competitions include:
Clark County: Feb. 6, 3:30 p.m., West Charleston Library Theater
Elko County: Feb. 6, 6 p.m., Western Folklife Center
Storey County: Feb. 7, 1:45 p.m., Virginia City High School Library
Lyon County: Feb. 12, 4 p.m., Jeanne Dini Cultural Center
Pershing County: Feb. 12, 3:30 p.m., Pershing County High School Auditorium
Washoe County: Feb. 15, 6 p.m., Nevada Museum of Art
The Poetry Out Loud state champion earns $200, wins $500 for his or her school to support literary programs, and travels to Washington, D.C., to compete for $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes at the national finals.
Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council, presented in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts. For information on the state finals, contact Maryjane Dorofachuk at 702-486-3738, or visit www.facebook.com/NevadaPoetryOutLoud.
The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, is charged with ensuring state and national funds support cultural activity and encourage participation in the arts throughout Nevada. In addition to providing hundreds of grants to arts and community-based organizations, schools, artists and local municipalities throughout the state, the Arts Council coordinates a variety of statewide programs, traveling exhibits, artist residencies, workshops and cultural assessments.