Registration is now open through January for Kern County high schools who are interested in participating in the Poetry Out Loud (POL) event and competition.
The Poetry Out Loud event aims to help youth be exposed to poetry and give Kern residents an opportunity to connect to young up-and-coming artists during the various contests to be held in Kern.
High schools in Kern County participating in POL can find the first steps to preparing for the competition on their website. There they will find a wide variety of published poems to choose from to memorize. Judges score students on articulation, confidence, and preparation amongst other elements.
The memorized performances will also be judged on literary, historical, and contemporary content. Each year’s poem selection is robust to help students find several poems to perform that fit the criteria according to the rules of the program.
Kern residents have many reasons to attend the county competitions. This event will showcase the diversity of styles of art and performers the county has to offer. It will also be a great way to inspire students to read, write, and perform.
“We’re talking specifically about literary arts because it’s life-changing for people,” Cassis described.
Judith Cassis is a staff member at ACK and a newcomer to the POL planning. Cassis explained that California has the largest participation in the POL event.
Her advice to new or returning teachers who want to get involved in 2024’s POL event is to first reach out to the ACK. One of the beginning steps is to read through information sent by ACK, who are available to answer questions regarding the material.
Other takeaways students can look forward to are the cash prizes. Cassis told Kern Sol that cash prizes include 200 hundred dollars for state champions, an all-expense-paid trip to Washington DC, and 500 hundred dollars for their school’s library for new books. Funding for planning and prizes is due to NEA and other organizations like the California Arts Council (CAC). The event’s champions will go on to state and national competitions.
To learn more about the effort please reach out to this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who attend a school that is not participating in POL, or who are homeschooled, can get help registering by using the above email.
Important dates from the ACK include:
• Sunday February 11, 2024: Latest date for county finals events
• Friday February 16, 2024: Deadline to register County Champions for State Finals with the CAC
• Saturday-Sunday March 16-17, 2024: California Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Sacramento
• Tuesday April 30 – Thursday May 2, 2024: Poetry Out Loud National Finals, Washington D.C.
Youth who have not been able to engage with poetry due to disabilities will be accommodated throughout the process and are encouraged to sign-up through there school. For more information on how Poetry Out Loud organizers included accessibility visit the website poetryoutloud.org/teachers-organizers/accessibility/.