Steller Secondary student wins Alaska poetry competition
ALASKA STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS and JUNEAU ARTS and HUMANITIES COUNCIL ANNOUNCE ARYEH LAX AS THE 2012 POETRY OUT LOUD ALASKA STATE CHAMPION
Juneau, Alaska - From a competitive field of more than 5,400 students across the state, Aryeh (pronounced Ar-ee-ay) Lax from Steller Secondary School in Anchorage, Alaska, received the title of 2012 Poetry Out Loud Alaska State Champion at the state finals held in the Juneau Arts and Culture Center in Juneau on March 27, 2012. The first runner-up was Chaya (pronounced Kaia) Pike from Sitka High School in Sitka, Alaska.
Aryeh Lax's final recitation was The End of Science Fiction, a free form poem by Lisel Mueller commenting on contemporary life. "Poetry Out Loud is an all-out incredible event. The chance to absolutely immerse myself in these poems--to get inside them, and then try to communicate that connection to an audience--is challenging, enlightening, and transformative. I love that there's this kind of opportunity out there for teens," says Aryeh.
Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC. More than 365,000 students from 2,255 high schools took part in the 2010-2011 Poetry Out Loud program.
At the state finals at Juneau Arts and Culture Center, 10 Poetry Out Loud contestants from all over Alaska recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 680 classic and contemporary poems. The anthology, a website (www.poetryoutloud.org), a teacher's guide, and media samples of poetry recitation were created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation as free educational resources for high school students and teachers.
The Alaska State Champion Aryeh Lax will receive an award of $200 and an all- expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship. His school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. First runner-up Chaya Pike will receive $100, with $200 for her school library. Third place went to Whitney Winders from Wasilla's Colony High School. The other finalists were Jessica Andersen from Unalaska City School, Unalaska; Reilly Clarke from Lathrop High School, Fairbanks; Jesse Klejka from Bethel Regional High School, Bethel; Darien Southall from Frank A. Degnan High School, Unalakleet; Brittni Tully-Dapcevich from Revilla Alternative High School, Ketchikan; and Ruby Walden from Tok School, Tok.
Guest judges presided over the competition, including Ernestine Hayes, Juneau poet and Assistant Professor of English Arts and Sciences at University of Alaska SE; Don Reardon, Anchorage poet and writer, a professor at University of Alaska Anchorage and board president of the 49 Writers; Alaska State writer laureate Peggy Shumaker, of Fairbanks; Anchorage poet, writer and wilderness guide Jeremy Patakey; and poet, journalist and Kodiak fisherman Toby Sullivan. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including physical presence, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, and accuracy.
Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the popularity of rap music among youth. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Now in its sixth year of national competition, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover classic and contemporary poetry. To find out how to get involved in the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.
About Alaska State Council on the Arts
The Alaska State Council on the Arts is a state agency that fosters the development of the arts for all Alaskans through education, partnerships, grants and services.
About Juneau Arts and Humanities Council
The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council (JAHC), incorporated in 1973, is the formal arts agency for the Capital City of Juneau, Alaska. It operates the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) a vibrant community center. The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council cultivates vibrant arts and cultural opportunities and is a leader in building a strong, prosperous community where creativity and innovation thrive.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.
Juneau Empire Article on the Alaska State Finals: