GEHS student set to compete in Poetry Out Loud State Finals

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A Greenbrier East High School student is set to compete in Poetry Out Loud. Brett Napier is among 39 students from across West Virginia who will recite poems by Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Maya Angelou, Charleston native Rita Mae Reese and many others during the 2017 state Poetry Out Loud state finals competition set for Mar. 3-4 at the Culture Center in Charleston.

The winner will represent West Virginia at the 2017 national Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, DC, on Apr. 25-26.

Storyteller, author and recording artist Bil Lepp will serve as master of ceremonies for the state competition. Lepp is a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars Contest, and his works have received awards and recognition from the Parents’ Choice Foundation, the National Parenting Publications Association and the Public Library Association.

The semi-final competition begins with Division I at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 3, followed by Division II at 2:30 p.m. Saturday’s final competition begins at 1 p.m. West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman and musician Christian Lopez will perform during the finals on Saturday. All sessions are free and open to the public.

Harshman will serve as a judge, along with West Virginia author and songwriter Colleen Anderson; Cathey Crowell Sawyer, producing artistic director of Greenbrier Valley Theatre; Anthony Braxton, 2011 Poetry Out Loud state champion and current senior business management major at West Virginia University; Randi Ward, poet, translator, lyricist and photographer from Belleville, W.Va.; Joel Peckham Jr., assistant professor of literature and creative writing at Marshall University; 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 and materials. The runner-up receives $100, while the school receives $200 for poetry books and materials.