ArtsPath Hosts Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition

Posted on 2/11/2016 8:51:16 AM
Kate Bradshaw Reciting

ArtsPath, the arts-in-education program of the College of Fine Arts and the Lively Arts at IUP, will host one of 14 regional Poetry Out Loud competitions held in Pennsylvania that will determine who will represent each region at the state POL competition in March 2016 in Harrisburg. 

The ArtsPath regional competition takes place at 6:30 p.m.  this coming Monday, February 15, in the upper lobby of the IUP Performing Arts Center. The public is invited, and admission is free. Light refreshments will be served following the recitations when the winner will be announced.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, this national recitation competition begins at the classroom level and pyramids through school, regional, and state levels, ending with a national-level competition of state champions that is held in Washington, D.C. It encourages high school-age students to learn about significant works of poetry through memorization and adjudicated performance.

The champions representing their schools in the ArtsPath region this year are Ben Gardner from the Kiski School, Claire Henderson from Marion Center Area High School, Greyson Knepp from Clarion-Limestone Area Jr./Sr. High School, Mackenzie Lines from DuBois Area High School, and Lillian Rauss from Indiana Area High School

Each will recite from memory three poems that satisfy the criteria of one being pre-20th century and one being 25 lines or less. Their recitations this year include poems by Ellas Wheeler Wilcox, Geoffrey Brock, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rabindranath Tagore, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Bob Hicok, as well as several others.

Judges for this year’s competition are:

  • Laurel Johnson Black, associate professor of English at IUP, where her teaching and academic interests include composition, sociolinguistics, pedagogy, assessment, and creative writing. She is also a published author, most recently in the Atlanta Review.
  • Ken Sherwood, associate professor English at IUP, where his teaching and academic interests include modernist and postmodern American poetry, oral literature, ethnopoetics, digital writing and literature, critical theory, and creative writing. Publisher of several chapbooks, he currently works with multimedia and digital poetry and is co-director of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture.
  • Todd Thompson, associate professor of English at IUP, where his research and teaching interests include 18th- and 19th-century American literature and culture, political satire, humor studies, hemispheric American studies, poetry and poetics, and new historicism.
  • Daniel Weinstein, assistant professor of English at IUP and pioneer in the use of computer technology for teaching writing remotely. His research and teaching takes place “at the intersection of educational technology and the psychology of creativity,” and focuses on how new technologies may be used to help students prosper as learners and creators.
  • Michael T. Williamson, associate professor of English at IUP, who lists poetry, global literature, and literary history and theory as a few of many academic interests. He has published essays on 19th-century British women poets, early 20th-century Yiddish poetry, and the comic writing of P.G. Wodehouse. His book, The Heart of the World: Romanticism and Mysticism in Interwar and Holocaust Yiddish Poetry, is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press.
  • Kim Young, is a reference librarian at Indiana Free Library, where she is in charge of the nonfiction and reference collections. In addition to her work as a librarian, she has worked as a magazine editor in Alexandria, Virginia, and as a freelance writer has published a variety of feature articles and stories.  

The evening will also feature music by two students from the IUP Music Department: Alex Price on guitar, and Nashwan Asef Abdullah on violin.

For more information, please contact Jeff Wacker at, or call the Lively Arts at 724-357-2787 (ARTS).

ArtsPath has been providing arts-in-education services since 2001 to over 3,000 students annually in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson counties. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency under the Governor’s Office. Its mission is to foster the excellence, diversity, and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania  and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state.