Jasmine Jackson from Kinston High School in Lenoir County is headed to the national Poetry out Loud finals in Washington, D.C. next week, May 3 to 4.
Jackson, a 10th grader, will join 53 high school students from across the country, who will gather to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in the 2016 National Semifinals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.
This is an annual recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, and administered by the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
Jackson impressed the judges in the North Carolina competition, held in March, with her lively recitations of the poems: Obedience, or the Lying Tale, by Jennifer Chang, The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt and Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas.
The national competition takes place at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University p.m. Tuesday, May 3. Nine finalists will proceed to the finals on Wednesday, May 4, where they will vie for the title of National Poetry Out Loud Champion and a $20,000 award.
The top finalists and their schools will receive $50,000 in awards. The semifinals and finals will be webcast live with viewing parties around the country.
Jackson will be the 12th student to compete on from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, May 3. The NEA will offer a closed captioned, one-time-only webcast at www.arts.gov to view the competition on both days.
The host for the program is Elizabeth Acevedo, award-winning poet. Guest judges include Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America; authors Jacqueline Woodson and Virgil Suárez; playwright and poetry slam champion José Antonio Vadi; and actor Chris Sarandon. The featured performer is hip-hop artist and multi-instrumentalist Christylez Bacon.
The Poetry Out Loud Semifinals and National Finals are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Both events will offer ASL interpretation. For more information call (202) 682-5606 or visit www.arts.gov.