In the Spotlight

Anita Norman is the 2014 POL National Champion!

From a competitive field of 365,000 students nationwide, Anita Norman, a student at Arlington High School in Arlington, Tennessee, won the title of 2014 Poetry Out Loud National Champion at the National Finals held in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. With this achievement, Norman received a $20,000 award and her high school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. 

Norman’s final recitation Wednesday evening was “Let the Light Enter,” a poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Norman also recited Stanley Kunitz’s “The Layers” and Robert E. Hayden’s “Mourning Poem for the Queen of Sunday” at the Wednesday evening finals. When asked about which poem a person should recite, Norman said, “The poem should make a statement and be a piece of who you are.” Listen to a conversation with the 2014 Poetry Out Loud champion at

The second-place winner in the 2014 Poetry Out Loud national competition was Lake Wilburn of Columbus, Ohio, who received a $10,000 award. Natasha Simone Vargas of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, received the third-place prize and a $5,000 award.

Read more on the National Finals here



An Ironworker Manufactures Order

In the June 2012 issue of Poetry magazine former ironworker, Josh Warn writes about the pleasures and benefits of memorizing and reciting poetry. From the article:

"Ironwork is often artful though, if not arty, and there are reasons that carrying longish poems in memory has some of the same satisfactions as completing a difficult weld or fitting a steel handrail to a curved stair. For one thing, when you haul out a poem from the brain’s back room, it feels like you own it. Each time you run through it you see different inflections you might use. Though the copyright owner might disagree, you share in his or her creative expression."

Read all of the article on the Poetry Foundation's website