In early March, ten young people representing high schools across New Mexico will stand on the stage of the St. Francis Auditorium in Santa Fe, before a panel of judges, to recite poetry. The competition is part of a national program called Poetry Out Loud, created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. All fifty states and the U.S. territories participate, and each year the New Mexico program involves almost 2,000 high school students.
Our state's coordinator is Phyllis Kennedy of New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The challenge for the students, says Kennedy, "is finding the poem that speaks to them from [Poetry Out Loud's] 900-poem anthology, then really diving deep into it with their teachers and their friends. And with our teaching artists -- one thing they stress is really understanding the poem, being able to bring out the author's voice."
The state finals are March 10 in Santa Fe. Click here for information.
On February 24 at Bookworks in Albuquerque, several of the 2019 finalists will be joined by New Mexico Poets Laureate, past and present, for a pre-finals event. Click here for details.