The 13th Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland State Finals was held on March 10, 2018 in the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Auditorium at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
This year’s Maryland State Champion is Cayla Turner, a senior at Indian Creek School in Anne Arundel County was among nine finalists selected from more than 7,500 students in 13 counties competing in the statewide POL competitions.
This poetry recitation contest is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, and administered by U.S. state arts agencies across the country. Maryland student participation has reached the total of 124,000 since its inception over 13 years ago. The Maryland Poetry Out Loud competition is produced by the Maryland State Arts Council.
“Poetry Out Loud is such a great opportunity for kids because finding and reciting a poem they can relate to is so freeing!” said the 2018 State Champion Cayla Turner. “Teenagers are able to more easily express themselves and show everyone how they feel and who they are in a unique way.”
In the competition Cayla recited “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning, “The Song of the Feet” by Nikki Giovanni and “Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth.
“We are so proud of Cayla here at Indian Creek School,” said Matt McCormick, Indian Creek Associate Head of the Upper School and Dean of Students. “I’ve heard and watched her recitation of Nikki Giovanni’s ‘The Song of the Feet’ dozens of times, but there was something magical about her recitation at the state competition. Her performance embodied everything Poetry Out Loud is about and what it can achieve through young people reciting poetry. Cayla is a fabulous young woman who is going to do amazing things!”
Participation in POL offers students the opportunity to learn about their literary heritage, build self-confidence and improve their public speaking skills. The process begins in the fall when participating students select three eligible poems from the POL website (www.poetryoutloud.org), analyze and memorize them, and present the poems at their school competitions. In February each school winner moves on to regionals and in March, at the State Finals competition, the participants are evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.
As state champion, Cayla received $1200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to compete in the National Finals, April 23-25, 2018, at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Her school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials.