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CANCELLED: College to Host Poetry Out Loud Contest

CANCELLED: College to Host Poetry Out Loud Contest



On a late winter day, the SUNY Cortland campus community expects to be overrun by poets.

These will be high school-age masters of verse, to be precise.

The College will host the regional level of the 2013 Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition for upstate New York on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Presented in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge.

These traditional readings and contemporary style performances of verse are free to watch and open to the public, although space will be limited.

“This is an amazing opportunity for young writers, poets, readers and presenters to work on their skills outside of the classroom,” said Kayla Koelbel, a sophomore coaching major and professional writing minor at SUNY Cortland. Koelbel is one of two student interns working to promote the Poetry Out Loud contest.

Poetry Out Loud is an organization that aims to encourage the nation’s high school students to learn about great poetry through exploration, memorization and performance. Some 375,000 students from more than 2,000 high schools nationwide took part in the 2012-13 competition. 

 Creative wordsmiths from participating high schools are invited to compete in this contest, involving memorization and recitation of poetry. Competitors from grades 9-12 will be chosen from Cortland, Cayuga, Oswego, Onondaga, and Madison county high schools. Each student will be required to choose and recite at least two poems from the Poetry Out Loud website.

The competition will feature presenters not simply reciting poems but performing them for judges and an audience. The judges will be professors from SUNY Cortland’s English and Performing Arts departments, along with area performance poets. They will score competitors based on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

The winner at this level will be eligible for state finals. Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., as they advance to compete for the national championship April 29 and 30, 2014. Additionally, the school of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books. At the National Finals, $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

High school teachers interested in having their students participate in Poetry Out Loud or individuals seeking more information about the regional contest should contact Victoria Boynton, SUNY Cortland professor of English, at More information is available about Poetry Out Loud online

Koelbel and her fellow publicity intern, professional writing major Patricia Rosetti, are participating in one of the nearly 3,000 service learning experiences that SUNY Cortland students annually have incorporated into their college education. In March, SUNY Cortland for a third year was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction based on volunteerism within the campus community.