10 RI high school students competed in the 17th Poetry Out Loud competition

Visit Poetry Out Loud RI Facebook Page to view this year’s competition.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) announced today that 10 RI high school students participated in the Poetry Out Loud state finals on March 6 in a private ceremony at The Greenwich Odeum at 11 a.m. To view the event and learn more about Poetry Out Loud RI, visit the Poetry Out Loud RI Facebook page.

Poetry Out Loud state finalists: 

  1. Mariama Bandabaila, Classical High School, Providence.
  2. Kaleah Bodden, Providence Country Day School, East Providence.
  3. Johanny Duran, Central High School, Providence.
  4. Claire Fitzgerald, La Salle Academy, Providence.
  5. Leanne Gomes, St. Patrick Academy, Providence.
  6. Virginia Keister, Chariho Regional High School, Wood River Junction.
  7. Ailyn Mendoza, Central Falls High School, Central Falls.
  8. Kaleb Pereira, Cranston West High School, Cranston.
  9. Nazarae Phillip, East Providence High School, East Providence.
  10. Jennifer Shon, Portsmouth Abbey, Portsmouth.

At the Rhode Island State Finals, contestants will recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. Additionally, Damont “Mr. Orange” Combs, Providence, will be presenting as the guest poet.

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Damont “Mr. Orange” Combs

Under the direction of 39 teachers, some 1,901 RI high school students participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The contest, a partnership with RISCA, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, inspires high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

Our community partners include POL RI Program Coordinator Martha Lavieri, Teaching Artists Kate Lohman and Combs, The Providence Athenaeum, the Rhode Island Center for the Book and RISCA.

Special thanks to the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich for hosting the private in-person portion of the event.

The Poetry Out Loud competition uses a pyramid structure, which begins in the classroom. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, D.C. (To be held virtually this year.)

Students participating in the Poetry Out Loud program have benefited from educational materials created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. These standards-based curriculum materials include an online anthology, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Schools are welcome to download these free resources at www.poetryoutloud.org.  

National Endowment for the Arts  was established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative partnerships, prizes, and programs.