Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

David Butler Wins “Poetry Out Loud” Heads to State finals March 15

Posted on February 18, 2010
Filed Under Tahoe-Truckee Profiles

David Butler, a senior from South Tahoe High School, took first place in El Dorado County’s inaugural “Poetry Out Loud” competition on February 9th.

In the first round, Butler delivered a flawless performance of the 19th century British poet John Clare’s lyric poem, “I Am!” followed in the second round by a humorous recitation of Marge Piercy’s, “For the young who want to,” a contemporary poem that speaks to the difficulties of being an artist.

Butler is headed to the California state finals in Sacramento on March 15, 2010. Congratulations David!

Butler was one of thousands of students across the state to participate in the national recitation contest, a program run by the California Arts Council in the state and started by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to engage high-school students in the presentation of poetry through memorization and performance. Butler now advances to the California state finals in Sacramento on March 15, 2010. At stake are hundreds of dollars on the state competition level and thousands at the national finals of Poetry Out Loud.

Over 800 teens from high school programs throughout El Dorado County took part in the Poetry Out Loud.

“Watching the students perform on stage was really moving,” said Moira Magneson, Poetry Out Loud coordinator for El Dorado County. “They were fearless, focused and articulate. All of them connected with their poems, and as the audience, we felt that.”

First runner-up Rebecca Shields of Oak Ridge High School also voiced her enthusiasm about the competition, stating, “I’ll definitely be returning next year!”

“Young people interested in rap and slam contests can be surprisingly interested in classical poetry when it’s presented through the Poetry Out Loud competition,” said Muriel Johnson, Director of the California Arts Council. “We’ve seen students from all backgrounds and academic levels embrace this program wholeheartedly. It can change their lives.”

The Poetry Out Loud program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry: recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud competitions start in the classroom, then at the school, region, state, and national finals, similar to the structure of the spelling bee. The national initiative is part of an attempt to bring literary arts to students, a critical need in U.S. schools, according to a 2004 NEA report Reading at Risk that found a dramatic decline in literary reading, especially among younger readers.

Congratulations David. Good luck on March 15th.

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