Wyoming Arts Council

Wyoming Poetry Out Loud competition takes place March 10-11

POL group

Participants and judges in the 2013 Poetry Out Loud competition at the Atlas Theatre in Cheyenne.

The 2014 Wyoming Poetry Out Loud state competition takes place March 10-11 in Cheyenne. Fifteen student competitors, along with their teachers, parents and guests are expected. The competition begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 10, in the South High School auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.

This year’s student contestants are from Worland, Casper, Sundance, Hanna, Shoshoni, Kaycee, Fort Washakie, Evanston, Lander, Cheyenne, Riverton, Clearmont, Green River, Jackson, and Buffalo.

Guest judges this year are Echo Klaproth, Kelly Madigan, Adrian Molina and Chris Propst.

Echo Klaproth is a fourth-generation Wyoming rancher, writer, retired teacher and ordained minister from Shoshoni. In a ceremony at the State Capitol on July 10, 2013, she was introduced by Gov. Matt Mead as Wyoming’s sixth Poet Laureate. Her writing reflects: stories of her family’s heritage; struggles, gains, and growth as a woman, wife, mother, friend, and Christian; as well as the blessings she experiences because she was born and raised in Wyoming among good and honest folks.  She loves to travel around the state meeting people and celebrating her love of life through poetry, through programs, and/or writing workshops.

Kelly Madigan is a Nebraska poet and essayist whose work has been published in Best New Poets 2007, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review and the Omaha World Herald. She is the author of a collection of poetry, The Edge of Known Thing, and a how-to book entitled Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days. She has been awarded writing residencies at Brush Creek Ranch and Jentel, both in Wyoming, and at KHN Center for the Arts in Nebraska. Her poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s radio show, The Writer’s Almanac. She is a recipient of a NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing and the Distinguished Artist Award in Literature from the Nebraska Arts Council.

Poet and rapper Adrian Molina (a.k.a. Molina Speaks) is a Rawlins native and UW graduate who now lives in Denver. He is the performance director and a lead instructor at Youth On Record, an arts education organization on Denver’s west side. Molina has conducted artist residencies with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Colorado Academy and the Mizel Museum. He is a member of the Café Cultura Artist collective. He has collaborated with Bioneers, Denver Spirituals Project, Su Teatro, Lighthouse Writers, Café Nuba, The Growhaus, Servicios de la Raza, and the Denver Public Library. Molina released three music projects in 2013: Hard Times mixtape w/ DJ Icewater, Greatest Rapper Never Heard, and No Translation, No Comment.

Chris Propst grew up in Alaska and is an English professor at Western Wyoming Community College.  He’s mostly a fiction writer, publishing stories in Owen Wister Review and Flint Hills Review. He earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from Texas State University.  A sometimes performance poet, he’s had poetry published in Sentence, Flint Hills Review and elsewhere. Wyohistory.org featured Propst’s 2012 essay about Rock Springs history and he has an upcoming essay in the 2014/2015 anthology entitled On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories.

On Tuesday, March 11, the state winner and runner-up will be announced at the awards ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. First Lady Carol Mead will present the awards, assisted by State Parks and Cultural Resources Director Milward Simpson. The winner receives $200; the runner-up receives $100. Each earns a cash prize for their school to purchase poetry books for the library.

The winner and a chaperone each receive an all-expense-paid trip to compete at the national finals in Washington, D.C., April 29-30. Scholarships totaling $50,000 are awarded to the national champion and the other placers.

Poetry Out Loud is a memorization and recitation competition for ninth through twelfth grade students. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the program is administered by the Wyoming Arts Council.

FMI: Katie Christensen, 307-777-7109; katie.christensen@wyo.gov

Cover photo: Adrian Molina performs in Denver. 

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