Another win at Poetry Out Loud; repeat champ makes Charleston proud
It's a South Carolina first.
[caption id="attachment_34461" align="alignright" width="242"] State Poetry Out Loud winner Janae Claxton (center) receives her trophy from South Carolina Arts Commission representatives Zuri Wilson-Seymore, program coordinator (left), and Ashley Kerns Brown, arts education director (right).[/caption]
This past weekend, Janae Claxton of Charleston became the first back-to-back champion of the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition, which is organized by the South Carolina Arts Commission.
A senior at First Baptist Church School in Charleston, Claxton was judged the winner after three rounds against five other South Carolina finalists Saturday afternoon at Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia. She won an all-expenses-paid trip for herself and a chaperone as she represents the state in the Poetry Out Loud national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington. She also won $200. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize.
- Taylor Elisse Wade of Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster was first runner up, winning a $100 prize for herself and a $200 stipend for her school to spend on poetry books.
- Alyssa Stone of Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant was second runner up.
Four first-time judges were part of the Poetry Out Loud state finals: Al Black
, Dr. Ray McManus
, Dr. Charlene Spearen
, and Dr. Ernest Williamson III
. SCETV's Beryl Dakers
served as event host.
Claxton recited three poems from memory on her way to the victory: “The Gaffe
” by C.K. Williams in the first round and “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late, Famous General
” by Jonathan Swift in the second. Her judges’ score advanced her to the third and final round, where she recited Sharon Olds' “I Go Back to May 1937
Charleston student wins Poetry Out Loud State Championship
Janae Claxton (pictured above with her teacher, Robin Gramling), a junior at First Baptist School in Charleston, has been named the 2017 South Carolina Poetry Out Loud state champion. Claxton now advances to the national finals April 24-26 in Washington, D.C., where she competes for a $20,000 scholarship.
As the state champion, Claxton receives $200 and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national finals. The First Baptist School library also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.
Claxton was one of nine regional finalists who competed at the Columbia Museum of Art during the state finals on March 11. Each recited two poems they had memorized and perfected during school-wide and regional competitions that took place throughout the state from October to January, when more than 4,000 students began the competition. Three students were named state finalists and recited a third poem to determine the winner.
Competition judges were author and Poet Laureate for the city of Columbia Ed Madden, professor of English at USC; Darion McCloud, founder and creative director of the NiA Theatre Company and Story Squad; Theresa (T.J.) Wallace, assistant director at South Carolina Humanities; and Qiana Whitted, author and associate professor of English and African-American Studies at USC.
The South Carolina Arts Commission works with several partners to produce Poetry Out Loud. Statewide partners are the Columbia Museum of Art and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” radio program, hosted by Doug Keel. Regional partners are Hub City Writers Project (Region 1); One Columbia, Richland Library and the South Carolina Center for Oral Narrative at the University of South Carolina Sumter (Region 2); and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Region 3).
Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through exploration, memorization and recitation. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed.