Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Maryland Poetry Out Loud

Maryland Poetry Out Loud registration for the 2011-2012 season is now open! Help spread the word. Visit or for details. Here's the general run down. From the Maryland State Arts Council's Christine Stewart:

We are pleased to announce that Kari Barclay, Maryland’s Poetry Out Loud Champion, was one of 9 student who reached the Finals at the Nationals in Washington, DC this past April!

Kari was awarded $1,000 and his school received $500 for the purchase of poetry books. This is the second year in a row Maryland has reached the Finals, with State Champion Nora Sandler placing 3rd in the nation in 2010.

To put this into perspective, 365,000 students participated nationally in the 2010-2011 competition.


1) This year we are including 9th graders, in addition to 10th, 11th and 12th. No other grades will be folded in per NEA guidelines. Only 9-12th.

2) Another structural change: We are happy to announce that we are moving to a regional coordinator structure so that each region has its own coordinator who will help organize (for counties new to the program) or support (for counties who have participated two or more years) county competitions, organize and host the regional competition and be your ‘go to’ person for questions, etc.

Linda Joy Burke, our current Poetry Out Loud Coordinator, will move to lead Region 2: Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Calvert, Charles, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s Counties. In addition she will also continue working closely with Baltimore County, which is part of region one. She will be contacting teacher liaisons, county Departments of Education and Arts Council partners and over the next couple of weeks to begin planning for the 2012 season. Part of that planning will include outreach to county schools that have not participated in Poetry Out Loud previously, scheduling site visits, confirming returning schools, and addressing concerns or questions from previous participants.

Deanna Nikaido will lead Region 1: Allegany, Baltimore County, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Washington Counties. Deanna is the author of two collections of poetry, Voice Like Water and Vibrating With Silence and holds a degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. Voice Like Water was selected in the Small Press Bookwatch July 2009 by Midwest Book Review. She is a poetry/publishing coach and design consultant for Bookinday (, a non profit hands-on literacy project that teaches students the fundamentals of creative writing, through poetry and book publication. Since 2007 Bookinaday has published 35 books, elementary through high school across the country and two international schools. For more information visit

Both coordinators, along with myself, will support Region 3 on the Eastern Shore, while we locate a coordinator there. Suggestions welcome!


You can find the Teacher Toolkit Request form for download here: (should there be trouble with the link go to:, choose Grants and Programs, Poetry Out Loud (under Arts in Education), and Register/Request a Teacher Toolkit).

PLEASE NOTE: this form is also the REGISTRATION FORM and registers your school for the competition. If you wish to have a toolkit, but not register, send me your request by return email but don’t use the form. Toolkits are mailed out in August and September.

Please also take a moment to print out the TIMELINE – the link to which you can find in the left hand sidebar. Note that we will have updates! Please check back so you have the correct dates. This will just give you an idea of the timeline for the program.

Each school may have a maximum of 10 toolkits. By now, if a school has participated for at least two years, there should already be supporting materials (anthology, CDs, DVDs) in circulation. We have a limited number, so must cap your shipment at 10. The current Teacher’s Guide is available on the NEA website as a PDF, should you need more copies: (look in right hand sidebar for teacher resources).


October 3rd, 5pm – the deadline by which a school must register
December 9th, 5 pm – the deadline by which a school must have had their classroom and school competitions and report their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place school winners to me, Chris Stewart, by email (I will provide the form).
January, 2012 – county competitions
February 2012 – regional competitions
March 3, 2012, 1 pm – Maryland State Finals competition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. SNOW DATE: March 10, 2012.

Call Christine Stewart with questions: 410-767-6476.

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