WASHINGTON, DC –On Tuesday, April 29, 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 at Lisner Auditorium to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in the 2014 National Semifinals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Nine finalists will proceed to the April 30 National Finals 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 National Poetry Foundation and is administered together with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
WHO: Poetry Out Loud National Finals on April 30: Host Neda Ulaby, arts & culture reporter for National Public Radio. National Finals guest judges include poets Ming Di and Valerie Martínez, novelist Tope Folarin, Poets House Director Lee Briccetti, and actor/performer Chris Sarandon. The featured performer is singer/songwriter Meklit.
WHEN/WHERE: Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals – Tuesday, April 29, 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
(CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, SC, VI, VT, VA, WV)
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm - Second Semifinal: students from Midwest and South Central states
(AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, OK, PR, TN, WI)
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm - Third Semifinal: students from Upper Northwest and Western states
(AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MN, MT, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY)
Congressional breakfast for 53 Poetry Out Loud champions – Wednesday, April 30, 9:00 am – 10:30 am ET. Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building, 2 Constitution Ave., NE, Washington, DC. The breakfast for all 53 champions will feature visits by Members of Congress. This event is not open to the public.
Poetry Out Loud National Finals – Wednesday, April 30, 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 take place from 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. The webcast will offer closed captining. For more information call 202-682-5606 or visit arts.gov.
WEBCAST: The semifinals and finals can be viewed remotely through a closed captioned, one-time-only webcast at arts.gov.
FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL14.
CONTACT:Media must RSVP to Sally Gifford, NEA Public Affairs, 202-682-5606 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Video crews covering the Wednesday night National Finals must arrive by 6:45 pm to reserve a space. No flash photography.