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National Poetry out loud 2021-2022

Sh-Ron Almeida

Asst. Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Poetry is a powerful art form. A subject as old as time and religion. Through imaginative awareness of experiences and emotional responses, everyone has a story to tell. By twisting the language, you create something that provokes meaning, sound, and rhythm. Poems are relatable and immersive. You gain a sense of confidence with your work and a sense of satisfaction as you share your gift with others. The first time I dipped my toes into poetry was back in middle school and high school. Now as an adult, I find it a whole lot easier to get the words out there than before. Since our return from summer break, the number of poems in the Anchor Newspaper’s Arts section has drastically improved this fall semester. We’ve had plenty of writers who were willing to lend their voice to a blank sheet of paper and the poems aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

With the world plunging into senseless violence, deadly illnesses, and crippling uncertainty, it’s important to ensure that the next generation of young adults have the chance to live their best, most fulfilling lives. Children as well as young teens who may or may not be struggling through high school, seek proper guidance if they are to ever gain the inspiration to pursue their dreams. Poetry is a wonderful opportunity for anyone, especially teenagers, to gain voices of their own and make a change, no matter how big or small.

That’s why I am happy to bring awareness to the national Poetry Out Loud (POL). In this reading competition, thousands of Rhode Island high school students present their handwritten craft to audiences from far and wide. Each year, depending on which high school wishes to partake, a school champion is picked to compete at the state level. Then, they advance to the national level.

Participating high schools receive curriculum resources including teaching workshops, an anthology of over 1,000 poems, lesson plans and other materials needed to prepare for the next competition. The winner of the POL Rhode Island state championship receives $200; the winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for their school library. The national finalist will receive a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, with a $20,000 award for the U.S. champion. Last year’s RI champion was Virginia Keister of Chariho Regional High School, who competed virtually at the finals last May.

For more information on how to register your school for RI POL competition, contact Martha Lenihan Lavieri, Program Coordinator, at 401-282-0304, or

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