Friday, March 8, 2013

Poetry Out Loud Comes to Salem

This is an exciting couple of weeks for Oregon high school students, teachers, parents, and judges who are partici- pating in the final leg of the state-level Poetry Out Loud competition—the nationally run program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and state art agencies in which students compete for scholarships and other prizes awarded on the basis of excellence in poetry recitation. (That's 2011 Oregon finalist McKinley Rodriguez with Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen pictured here.)

P&PC is excited about this for a couple of reasons: not only are we sending a repre- sentative to help judge the Northern Regional Contest taking place tomorrow (Saturday, March 9) from 5-8pm at the Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, but then the following weekend—Saturday, March 16 from 1-4pm—the State Finals take place in Salem at the Willamette Heritage Center at Mission Mill right across the street from Willamette University, one of the few times that the literary arts in Oregon run not through the big city just to the north but through the state capital. Both events are free and open to the public, so come on out for one or both!

As a side note, Petersen will be spending additional time in Salem this coming week when she visits Willamette to meet with students and give a public reading from her new book on Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30pm in the Hatfield Room of the WU library. That reading, too, is free and open to the public. Things poetic are shaking in the capital these days—WU's Prisoner's Poetry program has launched a web site and is getting national attention, the Gold Man Review has just published its new issue, Brightly Dawning Day has just wrapped up its run, and Everyday Reading recently broke the top 100,000 best sellers on Amazon—and it's not even National Poetry Month yet! So leave the dream of the '90s behind in Portland one of these days, and come see what the new millennium is hatching in Salem: poetry with, ahem, a state-capital P.