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A Live Passion for Poetry is Coming Back to SUNY Campuses

A girl stands on a wooden stage behind a microphone during a Poetry Out Loud competition.

According to Robert Frost, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” Poetry helps people convey their emotions; provides for a therapeutic outlet; and helps individuals strengthen their language, writing, and speaking skills. Additionally, becoming familiar with reading and writing poetry leads to improved critical thinking and the development of creativity, empathy, and insight.

Chancellor Johnson has a strong passion for poetry and the arts and understands its benefits as well, “The liberal arts are more important than ever if we’re going to create a generation that can think critically and creatively,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Poetry is a part of that, as it unites us in our humanity. The Poetry Out Loud contest gives students the opportunity to share their art and for attendees to be inspired by their words. Thank you to our partners for working tirelessly to ensure this statewide tradition lives on.”

One way that SUNY is working to help future college students develop their skills and find their passions is through our ongoing partnership with Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Out Loud, created by the Teachers and Writers Collaborative in New York state, helps high school students learn how to write and perform poetry. Currently, 2019’s competition is underway, and the regional events will take place until the middle of February.

In order to participate, students must select three poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology. One poem must be 25 lines or fewer, and another must be written before the 20th century. The first round consists of performing in a classroom setting, and then the rounds progress from regional competitions to the national finals, which will take place in Washington, D.C.

The students who move on through the various rounds are able to travel throughout the country, experiencing new sights and widening their horizons. For New York State competitors, they will have the opportunity to visit one of the many SUNY schools hosting a Poetry Out Loud event, just like in years past.

The 2019 regional competitions will be held in early February at the following SUNY schools:

After the regionals conclude, the New York State final will come back to SUNY to take place at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on March 8. The 2019 National Finals will be held April 30-May 1, 2019 at the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University.

While the competition affords student participants the opportunity to showcase their work and gain experience performing, it also gives them the chance to visit our campuses and see what SUNY schools are all about. Additionally, attendees can see what our campuses looks like while in full swing, which will hopefully motivate them to pursue their own college career. Perhaps a deeper study of poetry and the language arts can lead these talented students to SUNY.

Interested in experiencing these performances for yourself? The competitions are free and open to the public, so head on over to your nearest participating SUNY school and show some support for these up-and-coming poets!



Learn more about the New York State Poetry Out Loud competitions via the Teachers and Writers Collaborative.

Written by Julie Maio

Julie is a Communications Assistant at SUNY System Administration.

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