State Poet Laureate urges high schools to sign on to Poetry Out Loud

In an open letter to Washington state school principals, department heads, and teachers, State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall made a strong case for Poetry Out Loud, saying those schools that offer the program “produce some of the most articulate and energized students, students who are excited about poetry, about words, about how words can be used to bring about change.” 

Schools in Washington State serving students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in this year's Poetry Out Loud program, but must register by November 17, 2017.  Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and state arts agencies. The program encourages high school students to learn more about great poetry, both classic and contemporary, through memorization and performance. Over 20,000 Washington students participated at the classroom level last year, joining 310,000 students nationwide. 

"I believe that the words we take inside of us can affect who we might become," he wrote. "So many cultural energies are driving students away from careful consideration of language; the Poetry Out Loud program does the exact opposite."

Read Tod Marshall's letter

Learn more about school registration for Poetry Out Loud


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