A chance to see good young poets perform for free

Photo of last year’s competition by Jay R. Hart, courtesy of the California Arts Council 

Want to hear some good young poets for free this weekend?

Check out the final rounds of the 10th annual California Poetry Out Loud competition, a state-wide poetry competition between thousands of high-school students. Round One of the finals kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel’s Magnolia Ballroom (1230 J Street). Rounds Two and Three begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 16 at the State Capitol’s Assembly Committee Room 4202 (1315 10th Street). Check out the whole schedule here.

For spectators, it’s kind of like watching a spelling bee, only it’s a lot more artistically exciting. The winner wins $200 and a trip to the national finals in Washington, DC in April—plus, the winner’s school gets $500 in poetry books. The winner of the national finals gets $50,000 in scholarships and other prizes. Judges include former California Poet Laureate Al Young and filmmaker Christopher Coppola, and there’ll be an address on Monday by Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Working Monday, but still want to catch the finals? Here’s what you can do: Monday’s two finals rounds will be broadcast on the California Channel, so figure out what channel that is for you at www.calchannel.com and set your DVR. We may or may not spoil the results for you on Monday afternoon before you can get home and watch it, though.

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