Each year we host the southern Arizona regional semi-final for Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest that--according to the Poetry Foundation--aims to "help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life." This weekend, finalists from twelve high schools in southern Arizona will perform poems chosen from an anthology that includes writers Carl Phillips, Natalie Diaz, and Naomi Shihab Nye--all of whom have recently read or will soon read at the Poetry Center!
The day will include a performance by Chalese "Chay the Poet" Potts, a poet, writer, teacher and performer who recently relocated to Tucson from Las Vegas. DJ Coco Montellano--who is also an artist, musician, and party planner--will provide musical accompaniment for the competition.
While Poetry Out Loud is a contest, the regional semi-final also serves as an opportunity for students from different schools to meet one another, and for high schoolers to interface with the Poetry Center's resources. As a public institution, our hope is that these students will continue to stop by the Poetry Center to peruse the shelves, use the typewriters, and find inspiration and resources for their own poems and projects.