2011 Poetry Out Loud National Finals

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Pennsylvania State Champion DeVonna Daisy Smith backstage before the Finals.

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The sixth annual Poetry Out Loud National Finals took place in the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC on April 28-29, 2011.

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 Poetry Out Loud Finalists in the green room before the competition.

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Two-time Alabama State Champion Youssef Biaz before the National Finals.

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Poetry Out Loud Finalists let off steam before the big show.

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Award-winning actress Kerry Washington, a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, hosted the Friday evening Finals.

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Poetry Out Loud Champions from every state, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC, along with National Finals judges, Poetry Foundation President John Barr and NEA Deputy Chairman Patrice Walker Powell.

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At the Semifinals, judges Gary Logan, Ibtisam Barakat, and Keith Leonard evaluate recitations.

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One of Colorado State Champion Samuel Opoku's recitations was "A Song for Soweto" by June Jordan. 

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Accuracy judge Paulette Beete follows along with the text of the poem as competitors recite.

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Maryland State Champion and Finalist Kari Barclay recites "Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud" by John Donne.

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Brian Turner, a poet and Army veteran, is among the Poetry Out Loud Finals judges.

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Poetry Out Loud is designed with accessibility in mind, from the development of program materials to the planning of competitions. At the National Finals, American Sign Language interpretation of the recitations.

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At Semifinals Region One, competitors await the announcement of the Finalists.

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As Finalists are announced at Semifinals Region Three, Colorado State Champion Samuel Opoku looks on as South Dakota State Champion Melissa Johnston hugs fellow Finalist and Nevada State Champion Emily Orellana

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From L-R: third-place winner DeVonna Daisy Smith of Pennsylvania, 2011 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Youssef Biaz, and second-place winner Victoria DiMartile of Kentucky revel in their victory.