2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals

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2013 Minnesota State Champion Oluwatoosin Ajagbe at the Congressional Breakfast.

2013 Minnesota State Champion Oluwatoosin Ajagbe at the Congressional Breakfast.

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Fifty-three champions from every state, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands at the National Finals.

Fifty-three champions from every state, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands at the National Finals.

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All America is on the stage at the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

All America is on the stage at the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

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Anticipation at 2013 Poetry Out Loud semifinal one (East Coast states).

Anticipation at 2013 Poetry Out Loud semifinal one (East Coast states).

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Did you know that Poetry Out Loud is accessible to students who use American Sign Language?  Here, 2013 Iowa State Champion Dakota Meyer signs a poem.

Did you know that Poetry Out Loud is accessible to students who use American Sign Language? Here, 2013 Iowa State Champion Dakota Meyer signs a poem.

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The stage, the mike, and the poem.

The stage, the mike, and the poem.

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The nine finalists enjoy a fun moment backstage before the show.

The nine finalists enjoy a fun moment backstage before the show.

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A reciter finishes her poem.

A reciter finishes her poem.

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The 2013 National Finals guest judges were poets Patricia Smith and Eduardo Corral; BBC Correspondent Jane O'Brien; Kevin Dyels, director of the Interpreting Services Division of TCS Associates; and Tree Swenson, executive director of the Richard Hugo Hou

The 2013 National Finals guest judges were poets Patricia Smith and Eduardo Corral; BBC Correspondent Jane O'Brien; Kevin Dyels, director of the Interpreting Services Division of TCS Associates; and Tree Swenson, executive director of the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, Washington.

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Audience members hanging on every word at the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

Audience members hanging on every word at the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

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NEA Deputy Chairman Patrice Walker Powell, 2013 Maryland State Champion and second-place winner Blessed Sheriff, 2013 Oklahoma Champion and third-place winner Denise L. Burns, National Finals host Anna Deavere Smith, 2013 National Champion and Washington

NEA Deputy Chairman Patrice Walker Powell, 2013 Maryland State Champion and second-place winner Blessed Sheriff, 2013 Oklahoma Champion and third-place winner Denise L. Burns, National Finals host Anna Deavere Smith, 2013 National Champion and Washington State Champion Langston Ward, and Poetry Foundation Program Director Stephen Young at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

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Langston Ward, the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Langston Ward, the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.