Poetry Out Loud 2016 National Finals in Washington, DC, May 3-4, 2016

Logo for the Poetry Out Loud program - a microphone and words
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, May 3, 53 high school students who advanced from poetry recitation competitions in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in the 2016 National Semifinals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The competition takes place at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University. Nine finalists will proceed to the finals on Wednesday, May 4, where they will vie for the title of National Poetry Out Loud Champion and a $20,000 award. The top finalists and their schools will receive $50,000 in awards. The semifinals and finals will be webcast live with viewing parties around the country. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation and is administered together with the state arts agencies in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. WHO: Poetry Out Loud National Finals Host, Elizabeth Acevedo, award-winning poet. Guest judges include Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America; authors Jacqueline Woodson and Virgil Suárez; playwright and poetry slam champion José Antonio Vadi; and actor Chris Sarandon. The featured performer is hip-hop artist and multi-instrumentalist Christylez Bacon.     WHEN/WHERE:  Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals – Tuesday, May 3, 9:00 am 8:00 pm ET, Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC.  Media interviews offered after each round.
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm - First Semifinal: students from East Central and Northeast States (in order: ME, VT, NJ, MD, MA, NH, SC, NY, OH, RI, WV, NC, USVI, VA, CT, PA, DE, DC)
  • 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm - Second Semifinal: students from Midwest and South Central states (in order: TN, IA, NE, IN, PR, LA, WI, AL, MO, FL, IL, OK, KS, MI, MS, GA, AR, KY)
  • 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm - Third Semifinal: students from Upper Northwest and Western states (in order: CA, OR, AK, NM, HI, AZ, MN, WY, ID, CO, MT, NV, ND, SD, UT, TX, WA)
Poetry Out Loud National Finals – Wednesday, May 4, 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm ET, Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. Pre-event interviews with the nine national finalists are at 6:00 – 6:30 pm. Post-event photos and interviews with finalists, judges, and speakers take place onstage, 9:15 – 9:45 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 202-682-5606 or visit arts.gov. WEBCAST: Watch the semifinals and finals through a closed captioned, one-time-only webcast at arts.gov. PHOTOS/VIDEO: Photos and video of #POL16 Semifinals and Finals will be available at this link. FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL16.  CONTACT: Media must RSVP to Sally Gifford, NEA Public Affairs, 202-682-5606 or giffords@arts.gov. Video crews covering the Wednesday night National Finals must arrive by 6:45 pm to reserve a space. No flash photography.

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Sally Gifford NEA Public Affairs  202-682-5606 giffords@arts.gov