WEST ORANGE, NJ – The spoken word will be highlighted at the 12th annual Poetry Out Loud finals on Jan. 10 at West Orange High School (WOHS), 51 Conforti Avenue, beginning at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.  

The Poetry Out Loud website describes the vision of the competition as “a contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.” According to the website, the program helps students master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, which is organized into local, regional, state and national competitions. In 2011, WOHS senior Clarissa Lotson advanced to win the competition at the state level.

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The winner of the Jan. 10 Poetry Out Loud finals will move on to regional competition. Several hundred students at West Orange High School participated in the selection process. Escriptus, the English Honor Society at WOHS, is presenting, organizing and running the event. 

Contestants will each recite two poems: the first a required poem and the second a poem selected from an approved list. Following the second round, a winner and runner-up will be named.

Admission is $2 for the public and $1 for students with an ID.

Contact Advisor Mindy Harvat at mharvat@woboe.org or 973-669-5301 ext. 31501 for more information.