Greenville 9th grader is S.C. Poetry Out Loud champ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Greenville High School 9th grade student Emily Allison is the 2021 South Carolina Poetry Out Loud champion after winning the annual recitation contest’s first virtual competition. [caption id="attachment_46626" align="alignright" width="200"] Emily Allison[/caption] Allison’s body of work earned her first prize over seven other finalists in her first experience with the competition. In lieu of the usual in-person state final competition, each finalist was recorded reciting three poems via a video conference with Poetry Out Loud State Coordinator Bonita Peeples and prompter Thomas Maluck, teen services librarian for Richland Library. The videos were sent to the four judges and an accuracy judge. After two rounds of evaluation, the top three scorers proceeded to the final round. They were: Allison; Teagan Domm, a junior at Academy Magnet High School in Charleston; and Caleb Xiao, sophomore at Spartanburg Day School who was first runner-up. The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the competition to the state’s high schools. Poetry Out Loud looked different in the 2020/2021 school year out of necessity. Peeples arranged a competition with a different structure for students in grades 9-12. Participants across the state submitted videos that were judged in twin regional competitions that yielded eight finalists, one of whom was Allison. As state winner, Allison will receive a $200 prize and get to represent South Carolina in the national finals competition for the chance to win the $20,000 first prize. The 2021 national finals will also be held virtually. A semi-final round is scheduled for Sunday, May 2 and the national finals will take place Thursday, May 27. Both will stream on arts.gov, website of the National Endowment for the Arts. Al Black, poet and arts advocate; Ray McManus, English professor at UofSC Sumter; Michele Reese, English professor at UofSC Sumter; Kimberly J. Simms, author and educator, served as judges. Each is an accomplished poet residing in South Carolina dedicated to training the next generation of poets. The SCAC’s Kevin Flarisee of Columbia was accuracy judge.