The literary arts have always been a figure in the western landscape so it is no surprise that the Nevada Poetry Out Loud Program continues to power up enthusiasm and excitement. Structured similarly to the National Spelling Bee, Poetry Out Loud (POL) begins in communities throughout the state as high-school aged students in public, private, charter and home schools master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage through the memorization of classic and contemporary poetry.
After district competitions, semi-finalists compete at the Nevada State Finals where the stakes are high. The Nevada POL State Champion receives $1,000, wins $1,000 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. Those placing second and third at the Nevada State Finals each receive $500 and $500 for his or her school.
Thanks to the generous and continuing support from NV Energy Foundation, district semi-finals continued in Nevada’s rural counties, which insured that POL remains a statewide program. This sponsorship also supports Powering Up Poetry: Poets in Residence, which provides writing and poetry interpretation workshops by published poets/educators in schools that don’t normally experience artist residencies.
The Nevada Poetry Out Loud program is an initiative of the Nevada Arts Council. Nevada POL is co-sponsored by the Nevada Department of Education and Cultural Alliance Nevada; and made possible through support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, NV Energy Foundation, and contributions by individuals, organizations and businesses that support arts learning programs for all students in Nevada.
Watch the 2016 Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals on KNPB Channel 5
For more information, click on these links: NAC Arts Learning Program; National Poetry Out Loud; Cultural Alliance Nevada and Poetry Foundation
Gabrielle Hunt, a Yerington High School junior, was named Nevada’s 2017 Poetry Out Loud State Champion at the 12th Annual Nevada State Finals, held in the KNPB Channel 5 studio on March 11, 2017. Elko High School junior Cache Black placed second, and Douglas County High School junior Lea Gifford finished third. 2017 POL Program
Mikalya Bates, a senior at Elko High School in Elko County, was named Nevada’s 2016 Poetry Out Loud State Champion at the 11th Annual Nevada State Finals at KNPB Studios in Reno. She received $1,000, an all-expense-paid trip for her and her chaperone to attend the National Finals in Washington, D.C. and $1,000 for her school for the purchase of poetry books and/or literary programs. Gabrielle Hunt, a sophomore at Yerington High School, and Vanessa Blackwell, a senior at Douglas High School, placed second and third. 2016 POL Program.
Nevada Poetry Out Loud Champion Dominique Groffman traveled to Washington D.C. at the endof April to represent the Silver State at the 2015 National Finals. The Douglas County High School senior advanced to the third round of competition in her semifinals as one of 24 regional finalists. Although Groffman did not continue on to the finals, she received a personalized plaque from the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation. 2015 POL Program.
On April 29, Christian Schunke, a senior at Yerington High School, was one of 53 students who walked on stage at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2014 Poetry Out Loud National Finals. Although Christian didn’t advance to the semifinals, Nevada’s State Champion Schunke recited his poems with ease and presence. 2014 POL Program
Graciela Maya-Joseph, a senior at the Owyhee High School in Elko County, was named the Nevada State Champion and represented Nevada at the National Finals in Washington D.C. Jennifer Simon, a senior at Pahrump Valley High School in Nye County, and Ralston Pedersen, a senior at Yerington High School in Lyon County, placed second and third. 2013 Program.
2010 Poetry Out Loud
Emily Orellana, a sophomore from Rainshadow Community Charter High School in Reno (center), Wasoe County ,was named the Nevada State Champion for a second year in a row. 2010 POL Program
Emily Orellana from Rainshadow Community Charter High School in Reno (center), Washoe County, with Miss Nevada 2008, Julianna Erdesz (right) and Jill Berryman of Sierra Arts Foundation (left). 2009 POL Program
2008 Nevada Poetry Out Loud
Lainey Henderson of Carson High School recites “Since There is No Escape” by Sarah Teasdale to garner a position at the national competition. 2008 POL Program
Jake Reid of Douglas County High School recites two poems, “The Secret of the Machines” by Rudyard Kipling and “Walking Down Park” by Nikki Giovanni. 2007 POL Program
Gibran Baydoun Green Valley High School performs “Do Not Go Gentle Into the Night”by Dylan Thomas. 2006 POL Program.