Twenty-six students from across West Virginia will recite poems by Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and others during the 2014 state Poetry Out Loud competition set for Mar. 14-15 at the Culture Center in Charleston.
The winner will represent West Virginia at the national Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, DC, on Apr. 29-30.
Television and screen actor Chris Sarandon of Beckley will serve as master of ceremonies for the state competition again this year. Sarandon guest starred on such television series as Chicago Hope, The Good Wife, The Practice and Law and Order SVU. His movie performances include Dog Day Afternoon, The Princess Bride, Child’s Play, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Loggerheads. Sarandon has been the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud master of ceremonies since 2007.
West Virginia author Colleen Anderson, Appalachian poet Crystal Good, West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman and American cellist, singer-songwriter and composer Ben Sollee will perform during the two-day event.
The semi-final competition begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 14. Saturday’s final competition begins at 1 p.m.
Anderson, Good and Harshman will serve as judges along with Mark Davis, a former Kanawha County Teacher of the Year who supervises and manages the county’s K-12 arts programs; and Caleb Stacy, the runner-up from the 2010 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud competition.
The state champion receives $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to the national finals. The school receives $500 to purchase poetry books. The runner-up receives $100, while the school receives $200 for poetry books.
This year, the WV Division of Culture and History and the WV Commission on the Arts commissioned Gilmer County artist Matt Thomas to create the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud champion award and a traveling award that will be displayed at the winning school.
For more information, contact Renée Margocee, director of Arts, at 304-558-0240 or email her at Renee.Margocee@wv.gov.
Students from our area and the poems they chose are: Neely Seams, Greenbrier East High School, “The animals in that country” by Margaret Atwood, “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe and Karissa Cox, Greenbrier West High School, “The Cities Inside Us” by Alberto Ríos, “April Love” by Ernest Dowson, “Blackberrying” by Sylvia Plath.