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Beatty freshman to compete in state poetry finals

Beatty High freshman Summer Taylor will represent Nye County in the Nevada Poetry Out Loud state finals in Reno on Saturday.

The quiet Taylor said she entered the competition because, “I thought it would be kind of cool.”

She says she likes poetry, particularly rhymes. She does not care for poetry that does not rhyme.

Teacher Marybeth Aragon helped Taylor choose poems for the competition in which students recite memorized poetry before an audience. The poems have to meet minimum length requirements, which adds to the challenge of memorization.

For the state competition, Taylor will be reciting “The Children’s Hour,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” by William Butler Yeats and “Auto-Lullaby,” by Franz Wright.

Taylor will join 11 other high school students from across the state at the 11th annual event from noon to 3 p.m. at KNPB Channel 5 Public Broadcasting’s studios, 1670 N. Virginia St., in Reno. The event is free and open to the public, though seating is limited, so attendees should plan to arrive early.

The state champion will represent Nevada at the National Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, D.C., May 2-4.

Susan Boskoff, executive director of Nevada Arts Council, said more than 2,750 students participated in this year’s event.

They continue to select more complex and demanding poems to explore, memorize and ultimately ‘own’,” said Boskoff in a statement. “We anticipate a very competitive and inspiring state final.”

Reno’s Poet Laureate, Gailmarie Pahmeier, is serving as the master of ceremonies. Judges include Bruce Isaacson, Clark County poet laureate; Vogue Robinson, Las Vegas poet and educator; Larry Ollivier, Reno poet and educator; NV Energy government strategy executive Linda Bissett; and Vicky Meissner, Humboldt County School District educator.

The Poetry Out Loud State Champion earns $1,000, wins $1,000 for his or her school to support literary programs, and travels with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. to compete for $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals, held May 2-4.

Second and third place finishers at the state finals each receive $500 and $500 for their schools to support literary programs.

Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council, presented in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

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