The Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, organizes Poetry Out Loud (POL), which encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. POL seeks to foster the next generation of readers by capitalizing on the resurgence of poetry recitation and performance. The program focuses on poetry as an oral art form as reflected in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth.
On March 10, the top two winners from each participating high school in both school districts will participate in the POL State Competition at 6 p.m. at the Windward Passage Hotel. The winner of this competition will advance to the national finals, which will take place May 14-15 in Washington, D.C. V.I. Council on the Arts will award prizes and certificates to winners and participants.
On the national level a total of $50,000 will be awarded. The national champion will receive $20,000; the second-place winner will receive $10,000 and the third-place winner will receive $5,000. The fourth through ninth-place finalists will each receive $1,000 and their schools will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.
Each state champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals. The state champion’s school will also receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100; his or her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry books.