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History-making Claxton nears Poetry Out Loud national title

Clemson football. Coastal Carolina baseball. USC women's basketball. Can Janae Claxton join the list of recent South Carolina national champions? The senior at First Baptist School in Charleston made history in March by becoming South Carolina’s first back-to-back Poetry Out Loud state champion. Yesterday she made more, becoming the first from the Palmetto State to advance from the regional competition at national finals. Will she make even more tonight when the nine national finalists compete to be national champion and win $20,000? It won't be much longer until that question is answered, and you can follow along tonight during the live webcast from the National Endowment for the arts. The competition runs from 7 to 9:15 p.m. The finals host is poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. Guest judges include Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress; Lavina Jadhwani, Chicago-based theater director; Robin Coste Lewis, poet and National Book Award winner; Dawn Lundy Martin, poet and professor at the University of Pittsburgh; and Virgil Suárez, poet and professor of at Florida State University. The featured performer is musician Kaia Kater. Nine student finalists representing high schools from Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Vermont match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in a contest for the title of 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Champion and a $20,000 award. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies. More information about the 2018 National Finals is available here. Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL18.

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

Six students readying for ‘Poetry Out Loud’ state finals Saturday

Six South Carolina high school students will compete in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – this Saturday, March 10, 3 p.m. at the Richland Library Main Branch (1431 Assembly St., Columbia). Janae ClaxtonThe S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring the competition to state high schools for 12 years running. In 2017, around 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties participated. School competition winners competed against students in their district to move on and compete in January’s regional finals. The following six state regional winners, three from each of two regions, compete Saturday for the opportunity to be the South Carolina representative in the national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.:

  • Grant Butler (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Janae Claxton (pictured - First Baptist Church High School in Charleston)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Alyssa Stone (Wando High School in Mount Pleasant)
  • Alexia Story (Buford High School in Lancaster)
  • Taylor Elisse Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
State winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals, and the state winner's school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. Each state’s first runner-up, and that student’s school, receives a cash prize as well. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize. Contestant Janae Claxton is the 2017 S.C. Poetry Out Loud winner. Update, 12:25 p.m. March 8: First alternate Alyssa Stone will replace Keegan Dustin, who is unable to perform, on the program.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information. Since its establishment, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.5 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools across the country. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.

Six students advance to state ‘Poetry Out Loud’ finals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 24 January 2018

  • Regional competitions yield six finalists
  • State finals to be held March 10 in Columbia
  • Winner advances to national competition in Washington, D.C.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Six South Carolina high school students reached the state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – after regional competitions in Charleston and Spartanburg this past weekend. The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring the competition to state high schools for 12 years running. In 2017, around 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties participated. School competition winners compete against students in their district to move on to compete in the state finals.  
(l-r: Keegan Dustin, Janae Claxton, Sha'Kaila Stewart, Taylor Elisse Wade, Alexia Story, and Grant Butler)
  The following six state regional winners, three from each of two regions, will compete Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia for the opportunity to be the South Carolina representative in the national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.:
  • Grant Butler (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Janae Claxton (First Baptist Church High School in Charleston)
  • Keegan Dustin (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Alexia Story (Buford High School in Lancaster)
  • Taylor Elisse Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
State winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals, and the state winner's school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. Each state’s first runner-up, and that student’s school, receives a cash prize as well. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize.
ABOUT POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information. Since its establishment, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.5 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools across the country. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.

Tuning Up: Poetry Out Loud regional competitions this weekend

Good morning! "Tuning Up" is a new, morning series of posts where The Hub delivers quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

(Image credit: South Carolina Philharmonic/Michael Dantzler)

  • Stand tall, stand proud... it's Poetry Out Loud: South Carolina students participate in the state regional finals of this annual, nationwide competition this weekend! Students from regions 1 and 2 meet up in Spartanburg, and region 3 students in Charleston. Winners from each regional compete in the state finals in Columbia in March.
  • Ten at the Top: Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg is to be host of TATT's "Culture Counts" forum next week, on Wednesday, Jan. 24. It will include the unveiling of the Upstate Arts & Culture Interactive Assets Maps as well as a keynote presentation by Anthony Radich, executive director of the Western States Arts Federation. A panel discussion to follow includes SCAC Executive Director Ken May. More information here, and event registration is here. (Information courtesy of Greenville Business Monthly.)
  • ICYMI: We couldn't help having a little weather-related fun on Facebook this week. (If you don't already, give us a like why don't ya?)

Zuri Wilson-Seymore named Poetry Out Loud coordinator

The South Carolina Arts Commission welcomes Zuri Wilson-Seymore as the new part-time Poetry Out Loud coordinator. Wilson-Seymore will work with teachers and schools participating in Poetry Out Loud and coordinate competitions with regional and state partners. A Columbia native, Wilson-Seymore is a poet, yogi, actress and community activist. In 2000, she studied theater at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY, and received her bachelor’s degree in theatre with an emphasis in performance arts from Winthrop University in 2001. She completed her thesis for her masters in Creative Writing with an emphasis on poetry at Southern New Hampshire University in 2016. She is working on a poetry chap book and on a book of poetry titled Nekot Cookie Crumbles: A Daughter remembering her Father, dedicated to her late father, Barry Wilson. Wilson-Seymore has appeared in a sitcom, a soap opera and a commercial and recently booked her first major voice over with G.E.M. Studios. Wilson-Seymore has collaborated with the Richland Library to direct and co-produce the African American History Month Productions of Voices of Our People and has worked with the City of Columbia and C.A. Johnson High School to improve the literacy of youth through writing and poetry workshops. In addition, Wilson-Seymore has facilitated Poetry Meets Screenwriting Workshops for USC's Media Department. Wilson-Seymore is the founder and executive director of the cultural arts event Zuri’s Parallel Worlds, which included poetry, theater, song, dance, visual art, music, deejaying, and drumming. The organization went on a sabbatical in October 2008 and re-launched in August 2011 as a band.  Wilson-Seymore released her debut album, Zuri’s Parallel Worlds, in August 2007 and directed the video for the single, She. The Arts Commission partners with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring Poetry Out Loud to South Carolina high schools. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level, with winners from each classroom advancing to a school-wide competition and then to regional competitions. Regional winners advance to South Carolina's statewide competition. Ultimately, one student from each state will compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C.  

Teachers: Sign up for Poetry Out Loud by November 22

Like us on the SC Poetry Out Loud Facebook page Poetry Out Loud encourages the study of great poetry by offering  a dynamic recitation competition and is open to students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 in public, private and parochial schools. Homeschooled students may participate by competing in a contest at a local school (at the school’s discretion) or with other local homeschooled students. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. The program is designed to fit into a teacher’s busy schedule and can take place over two to three weeks, and does not require full class periods. Teachers can work Poetry Out Loud into existing poetry units as the program satisfies most of the NCTE English/Language Arts Standards, as well as many of the state standards. Every teacher who participates in Poetry Out Loud will receive a free toolkit for classroom use. Classroom winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to regional and state competitions and ultimately to the national finals. The state winner receives $200, plus $500 for his or her school library, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to compete for the national championship and a $20,000 scholarship. The state first runner-up receives $100, plus $200 for his or her school library. Last year more than 4,000 S.C. students participated, with Janae Claxton of Charleston County winning the state championship and advancing to nationals. This year, more than 375,000 students are expected to take part nationwide. Nov. 22 is the deadline to register for the 2017-2018 school year. For more information or to register, visit the Poetry Out Loud web page, email Zuri Wilson-Seymore or call the South Carolina Arts Commission, (803) 734-8696. The South Carolina Arts Commission partners with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring Poetry Out Loud to high schools across South Carolina.

SC Arts Commission seeking Poetry Out Loud coordinator

Application deadline is Aug. 14. The South Carolina Arts Commission is hiring a part-time Poetry Out Loud coordinator to manage and implement the statewide Poetry Out Loud (POL) program and assist with arts education programs. Working under the supervision of the Arts Education Program Director, the POL coordinator plays a vital role in working with national, state, and regional partners, teachers, and students. Duties include not be limited to:

  • Work extensively with Arts Education Program Director, regional, and state partners to administer the Poetry Out Loud program throughout the state;
  • Work with Arts Education Program Director to develop new Poetry Out Loud partnerships;
  • Increase awareness of and participation in the Poetry Out Loud program, specifically in school districts that have not participated in the past three years;
  • Research and implement alternative participation opportunities for students whose schools do not participate in the Poetry Out Loud program;
  • Serve as liaison for participating Poetry Out Loud teachers and notify them of important information related to regional competitions, state finals, national finals, and future dates;
  • Supervise regional partners in the organization and execution of three Poetry Out Loud regional competitions; work with regional partners to ensure all regional partner responsibilities, expectations, and programmatic goals are met; collect final reports from regional partners;
  • Work with Poetry Out Loud fiscal agent to ensure payment is delivered on time to regional partners;
  • Coordinate arts education events, including but not limited to Poetry Out Loud state final competition;
  • Work with Communications Director to develop a Poetry Out Loud marketing plan; write and distribute press releases for events;
  • Manage social media engagement for Poetry Out Loud program;
  • Work with Arts Education Program Director, Communications Director, and Grants Office staff to create grant and program webinars;
  • Coordinate with SCAC Project Team for administrative and/or project assistance in a timely manner;
  • Coordinate with Poetry Out Loud state champion and her/his teacher to ensure s/he registers for National Competition;
  • Coordinate coaching opportunities for Poetry Out Loud regional finalists in preparation for the state finals competition and for state finalist in preparation for the national finals competition;
  • Attend Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC as SCAC representative;
  • Prepare required Poetry Out Loud Final Descriptive Report for National Endowment for the Arts;
  • Work with Arts Education Program Director to execute arts education special projects;
  • Other Poetry Out Loud and arts education administrative duties as assigned.
Find the complete application and apply online.

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. polcompositestatefinals

Nine students ready to compete for state Poetry Out Loud championship

Congratulations to the nine high school students advancing to the state finals in the South Carolina Arts Commission's Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The students will compete for South Carolina's spot in the Poetry Out Loud national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. State finals take place March 11, from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C. The public is invited to attend.

Finalists:

Region 1: Upstate
  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Simone Rice, Dorman High School, Spartanburg County
  • Livia Salle, NEXT High School, Greenville County
Region 2: Midlands
  • Taylor Wade, Andrew Jackson High School, Lancaster County
  • Emilie Martin, Fox Creek High School, Edgefield County
  • Alyssa Williams, Spring Valley High School, Richland County
Region 3: Lowcountry
  • Janae Claxton, First Baptist Church School, Charleston County
  • Abby Edwards, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • Julie Crosby, Goose Creek High School, Berkeley County
Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year, advancing from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. The state champion will compete in the national finals April 24-26 in Washington, D.C. The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for their library. [caption id="attachment_29712" align="aligncenter" width="560"]POLcollage2017 Top row, l to r: Alyssa Williams; Region 3 participants. Bottom row, l to r: Region 2 finalists Taylor Wade, Emilie Martin, & Alyssa Williams; Region 1 finalists Jamie Montagne, Livia Salle & Simone Rice; Region 2 judges[/caption] Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. 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. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship. Statewide partners include the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel. Regional partners include Hub City Writers Project in Region 1; One Columbia, Richland Library and S.C. Center for Oral Narrative at USC Sumter in Region 2; and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Region 3.

For more information, contact Frances Kablick Keel at FMKablick@arts.sc.gov.