In The Spotlight

2018 Poetry Ourselves Winners

We’re excited to introduce the 2018 Poetry Ourselves winners! Each Poetry Out Loud state champion had the opportunity to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories—written or spoken, and all submissions were judged by poet Jamaal May.

Lauren Haiar, POL Wyoming State Champion, won first place in the written category with her poem “A Creation Story.”

POL Massachusetts State Champion Xiadi Zhai received runner-up in the written category with her poem “Vietnam.”

In the spoken category, first place went to Gage Gramlick, POL South Dakota State Champion, for his poem “Untitled (Sometimes I Wake Up in the Middle of the Night).”

Raina B. Verser, POL Alabama State Champion, won runner-up in the spoken category. Here is her poem “Syllogism.”

Posted on 05.14.18


Spotlight on 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Janae Claxton

When Janae Claxton transferred to a new school as a sophomore, she was excited to have the opportunity to engage in her twin passions—volleyball and theater. Conflicting schedules, however, meant that it was impossible to pursue both. Though Claxton was disappointed to let go of theater, she soon found a new passion for poetry thanks to her school’s involvement in Poetry Out Loud (POL). That commitment paid off when the Charleston, South Carolina student, a senior at First Baptist School of Charleston, claimed the 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Championship, with winning recitations of poems by C.K. Williams, Jonathan Swift, and Sharon Olds. The night she won the POL National Finals the NEA sat down with Claxton—who’s deciding at which of six colleges she wants to pursue a degree in political science and international relations—to find out more about her Poetry Out Loud experience.

Head over to the NEA's ArtWorks Blog for the full interview and her recitation of CK William's "The Gaffe".

Posted on 05.04.18


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