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Jason Rapp

SCAC announces eight competitors for Poetry Out Loud state finals

Finalists from Aiken, Boiling Springs, Charleston, Greenville, & Myrtle Beach

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Eight South Carolina high school students will compete in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud—an annual, nationwide recitation contest—scheduled to be held virtually on March 6, 2021. The S.C. 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. Rather than be completely upended like so much else in the 2020/2021 school year, Coordinator Bonita Peeples arranged a competition with a different structure. In lieu of class or school competitions, students in grades 9-12 were invited to submit videos to be judged in twin regional competitions. Both regionals yielded four finalists to compete on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in the virtual state finals:
  • Emily Allison (Greenville High School in Greenville)
  • Meenakshi Balachandran (Calvary Christian School in Myrtle Beach)
  • Simone Cory (James Island Charter School in Charleston)
  • Teagan Domm (Academic Magnet High School in Charleston)
  • Anna Matson (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Pagelyn Smalls (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Caleb Xiao (Spartanburg Day School in Boiling Springs)
  • Jazmine Vivas Young (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
Adjudicating the virtual finals will be veteran Poetry Out Loud judges Al Black, Ray McManus, Michelle Reese, and Kimberly J. Simms. Each is an accomplished poet residing in South Carolina dedicated to training the next generation of poets. The winner of the state finals will receive a $200 prize and get to represent South Carolina in the national finals competition for the chance to win a $20,000 first prize. Cancelled last year in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, the 202 national finals will be held but virtually. Find out more about the national competition here.


The initial version of this post incorrectly identified Academic Magnet High School in Charleston as "Academy" Magnet High School.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued, and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Myrtle Beach student wins S.C. Poetry Out Loud competition

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Brynne Hardman, a senior at the Academy for Arts, Science, and Technology in Myrtle Beach, is the South Carolina winner of Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation contest. Hardman competed in the state finals competition in Columbia on Saturday, March 9 against seven other students from across South Carolina. The competition took place at the Richland Library Main branch. Hardman recited “To Have Without Holding” by Marge Piercy in round one and “Insomnia” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in round two. She and two other students advanced to the final round, where she recited “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara and received the highest score from the four judges: Marcus Amaker, Al Black, Kimberly Simms, and Michele Reese. Dr. Ray McManus was host of the event. Amaker, poet laureate of Charleston; and Zuri Wilson-Seymore, the S.C. Arts Commission state coordinator for Poetry Out Loud; gave professional recitation performances of their own poetry. Joining state winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, Hardman will be South Carolina’s representative in the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington April 29-May 1, 2019. 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 the South Carolina Arts Commission With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. 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.

Jason Rapp

New mixed media feature at CMA combines art and poetry

The Write Around Series with Ed Madden and Ray McManus, the latest initiative in the Columbia Museum of Art's new Writer-in-Residence program, launches Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. Award-winning poets Madden (left) and McManus (right) open the series with work they have written inspired by the dynamic themes of the newly redesigned collection galleries. “By grouping the art thematically rather than chronologically, the new collection galleries create conversations, not just among the works of art, but also among patrons,” says McManus. “Writing that responds to the artwork—some of it displayed now for the first time—is another kind of conversation across forms of art, and one that can only amplify and extend the conversation created by the new gallery designs.” As writer-in-residence, McManus is charged with creating programs that promote literary art as a way to contemplate and connect with visual art. The Write Around Series is year-long program that invites writers to create and share original poetry and prose inspired by the art in the CMA. An associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina in Sumter, McManus teaches creative writing, Irish literature, and Southern literature. He is the director of the Center for Oral Narrative housed in the Division of Arts and Letters. In 2014, he joined the editorial board for the Palmetto Poetry Series, and he maintains partnerships with the S.C. Arts Commission and local arts agencies. McManus is the founder of Split P Soup, a creative writing outreach program that places writers in schools and communities in South Carolina, and the director of the creative writing program at the Tri-District Arts Consortium. His current project is Re:Verse, a teaching initiative that works with educators and administrators to develop effective strategies to bring more emphasis to creative writing in standard education. Madden is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Ark, a memoir in poetry about helping with his dying father’s hospice care. He is a professor of English and director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. He has been the inaugural poet laureate for the City of Columbia since 2015. He received the Arts Commission's 2011 prose fellowship. “I’m excited to launch The Write Around Series, and I’m especially excited to launch this program with the poet laureate of Columbia, Ed Madden,” says McManus. “I can’t wait to see what we come up with together!” The event is free with CMA membership or separate admission. The program is supported by South Carolina Humanities. For more information, visit ColumbiaMuseum.org.

Jasper Magazine and partners launch new literary journal

Jasper Magazine, in partnership with Richland Library, USC Press and One Columbia, will release the inaugural issue of a new annual literary journal, Fall Lines – a literary convergence, on Sunday, June 8 at 4 p.m., at a free reception at Richland Library. A panel of judges selected 30 works of poetry and prose from nearly 500 submissions, and other writers were invited to submit works, including S.C. Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth (sponsored by the Roe Young State Farm Agency), Christopher Dickey, Josephine Humphreys and Ray McManus. In addition, Fall Lines will publish the South Carolina Academy of Authors 2014 fellowship winners in fiction and poetry, Nancy Brock of Columbia, and Jo Angela Edwins of Florence, respectively. Two new literary arts prizes, sponsored by Friends of the Richland Library, will be presented.  The Saluda River Prize for Poetry will be awarded to Mary Hutchins Harris of Daniel Island, and the Broad River Prize for Prose will be awarded to Nicola Waldron of Columbia. A certificate and check for $250 will accompany each prize. “Richland Library is not only interested in offering the best in literature to our community, we also value writers and want to support their work and success,” says Tony Tallent, director of literary and learning at Richland Library. “Partnering with Jasper to make Fall Lines a reality allows a new opportunity to explore the library's role in supporting writers and unleashing their creations to our community and the world.” A 98-page perfect-bound book with cover art by W. Heyward Sims, Fall Lines is published by Muddy Ford Press in lieu of the summer issue of Jasper Magazine and was edited by 2014 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award recipient and Jasper editor-in-chief Cindi Boiter with poetry editor Ed Madden. Fall Lines will be distributed in several locations in Columbia, including all branches of the Richland Library, USC Press offices on Senate Street, the One Columbia office on Taylor Street, Gallery West, Ed’s Editions, Trustus Theatre, If Art, Tapps Arts Center, City Art, 701 Whaley CCA, the S.C. Arts Commission, and the Jasper Studio in the historic Arcade at 1332 Main Street. Fall Lines will also be available as an E-book via Richland Library and for purchase from Amazon.com, BandN.com, and MuddyFordPress.com.