Two Greenbrier County students are be among the 38 students from across West Virginia will recite poems by Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, C.K. Williams, Charleston native Rita Mae Reese, and many others during the 2016 state Poetry Out Loud competition set for Mar. 4-5, at the Culture Center in Charleston.
The winner will represent West Virginia at the national Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, DC, on May 2-4.
Television and screen actor Chris Sarandon of Beckley served 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, Safe and Loggerheads. Sarandon has been the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud master of ceremonies since 2007.
Saturday’s final competition begins at 1 p.m. West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman and musician Kaia Kater will perform during the finals on Saturday. All sessions are free and open to the public.
Harshman will serve as a judge, along with WV author and songwriter Colleen Anderson; Dr. Kent Shaw, professor of literature and creative writing at West Virginia State University; Megan Atkinson, founder and director of Barter Theatre’s Project REAL; Heather Hutchens, General Counsel for the WV Department of Education; and Charleston author and poet Ace Boggess.
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 trophy and a companion award that will be displayed at the winning school. Students will also receive original works by WV artists Morgan Richards, Matt Thomas and G.W. Lanham.
Area competitors include: Neely Seams, Greenbrier East High School and Shannon Brunzo-Hager, Greenbrier West High School