“Having others’ poems in our minds and hearts means we’re never really alone.”
—Karen Kovacik, Indiana State Poet Laureate
Youssef Biaz, reciting here, was 16 years old when he was named Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Biaz won a $20,000 award and $500 worth of poetry books for his high school in Auburn, Alabama. He went on to recite poetry at the White House along with Rita Dove, Common, and Billy Collins. His favorite poet, Sharon Olds, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
This past weekend, kids across the country packed their bags and headed to Washington, DC, to recite poetry in the eighth consecutive year of the national competition, Poetry Out Loud. The recitation competition, presented by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, brings fifty-three American high school students to the nation's capital to compete for the title of 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. It will culminate tonight in an evening of recitation competition at 7pm EDT.
If you can't make it to DC for the free event this year, which features host Anna Deavere Smith and singer-cellist Ben Sollee, view the live webcast of Poetry Out Loud, or host a viewing party and bid a celebratory adieu to National Poetry Month.
Kristin Gecan is the media associate at the Poetry Foundation, which is the publisher of Poetry magazine and an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. The site also features an archive of more than 10,000 poems. Follow the Poetry Foundation on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or Pinterest.