Wyoming Arts Council

Wyoming Poetry Out Loud competition coming soon

The 2012 Wyoming Poetry Out Loud state competition will take place March 5-6 in Cheyenne. Sixteen student competitors and their teachers are expected, the largest slate for the Wyoming competition since its inception in 2006. Guest judges this year are James Coppoc, Pat Frolander and Diane Panozzo.

Coppoc, a poet, spoken-word artist and musician from Ames, Iowa, teaches English and American Studies at Iowa State University and creative writing in the low residency M.F.A. program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. Balancing poetry, pedagogy, playwriting, music and performance in his varied career, Coppoc’s publications include Manhattan Beatitude, 1997 (One Small Bird Press, 2010), Reliquary (Fractal Edge Press, 2010), and Blood, Sex & Prayer (Fractal Edge Press, 2005). Coppoc received four Pushcart Prize nominations in 2011.

Coppoc will give a public workshop on Sunday, March 4, from 2-4 p.m. at the Laramie County Library, focusing on bringing out the musicality in poems.

Frolander is Wyoming’s Poet Laureate, appointed by Governor Mead in late 2011. She hails from Sundance, Wyo., where she works the family ranch with her husband. Her publications include Married Into It (High Plains Press, 2011), and Grassland Genealogy (Finishing Line Press, July, 2009); her poetry is informed by her move to and unexpected rendezvous with the West and its captivating lifestyle. Frolander will read her poetry and say a few words prior to the competition’s start.

Panozzo, Tie Siding, Wyo., teaches classes at the University of Wyoming (UW) in the Honors English program, at the UW Art Museum and the UW Theatre Department. She has won three literary awards from the Wyoming Arts Council: a 2003 Literary Fellowship in poetry, and two honorable mentions in fiction and nonfiction. Panozzo taught in the Laramie County School District for 18 years, and began the Words Worth Symposium for middle and high school students in Cheyenne, and in the 1990s, started the first poetry slams in Cheyenne. She was nominated for a Governor’s Arts Awards in 2003.

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Wyoming Arts Council administers the program. Ninth through twelfth grade students are eligible to compete.

The event begins with a dinner for the contestants, teachers, judges and guests. The competition begins at 7 p.m. at the Historic Atlas Theater in downtown Cheyenne. The winner and runner-up are not announced until the next morning.

The awards ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. on March 6 in the Capitol Rotunda. Presenting the awards this year will be First Lady Carol Mead and Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.

The winner from each state receives an all-expenses-paid trip (along with a chaperone) to compete in Washington, D.C., May 13-15 at the national finals. Among the activities is the Congressional Breakfast, where students get to meet and have photos taken with their Congressmen. A total of $50,000 in scholarships is awarded to the finalists and winner.

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