Oregon’s Poetry Out Loud Celebration Goes Virtual During COVID-19 Pandemic


Nine Oregon high school students advance to the state Poetry Out Loud event, which you can watch live.

SALEM – Regional Poetry Out Loud competitions held in Medford and Salem identified the nine Oregon high school students who are invited to compete for the 2020 state title. Though the in-person event was canceled to slow the spread of COVID-19, all of the students have been invited to perform their prepared poems in this live Facebook event. Featured will be performances by former Poet Laureate Kim Stafford and newly appointed Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani.

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest for high school students, organized in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine. Participants memorize and present poems, practicing public performance skills while exploring the complexity of poetry. Winners of school competitions advance to regional contests for an opportunity to compete at the state contest; the state champion is invited to advance to the national competition.

The state contestants from the Medford Regional Contest (listed with their schools and hometowns) are: Hannah Oberman from Oakland High School, Oakland; Poppy Hendrickson from Cascade Christian High School, Medford; Tabarjah Neal from Oregon Connections Academy, Klamath Falls; and alternate Clara Bennett, Crater High School, Central Point.

State contestants selected at the Salem Regional Contest are: Christina Brennan, K12 International Academy, Happy Valley; Olyvia Oeverman. St. Stephen’s Academy, Tigard; Faith Palma, Veritas School, Dundee; Gabriella Shirtcliff, Summit High School, Bend; Sevyn South, Village Home, Portland; Alejandra Ortega, Sandy High School, Sandy; and alternate Jamila Walker, Oregon School for the Deaf, Salem.

“After 15 years of Poetry Out Loud in Oregon, we continue to see an impressive caliber of performances from students. We are thrilled to welcome these nine outstanding presenters to the state event,” said Deb Vaughn, the Arts Commission’s arts education/Poetry Out Loud coordinator.

Watch it live here on May 27th at 6pm.

About Author

Carrie Kikel is the Communications Manager for Oregon’s Arts Department, which includes the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Oregon Arts Commission provides statewide grant funding to artists, arts organizations and arts programs. The Cultural Trust raises public and private awareness and investment in arts, heritage, history, humanities and preservation.

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