Twenty-five high school students from around the Puget Sound region will descend upon the Main Branch's Olympic Room at 10 AM on Saturday, February 6, for a highly competitive semi-final round of reciting poetry aloud. The winner will go on to compete in the state finals of Poetry Out Loud on Saturday, March 5 at Tacoma's Theater on the Square. Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition that encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This is the fifth year that the state's regional competition has been hosted by Tacoma Public Library. The competition is open to the general public and it's a lot of fun to listen to the students work their way through and around the challenging wordplay of a great poem.
By participating in the program, students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence, while also learning how to connect with and analyze literature in new ways. Each state hosts an annual competition, culminating in a national competition among the state winners. The stakes are high. $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends are awarded to the winners at the National Finals.
The Poetry Out Loud program is open to any school that serves students in grades 9-12. In 2014-15, there were 68 participating schools from across the state, with over 20,000 students participating