Jasmine Jackson from Kinston High School in Lenoir County won the North Carolina Poetry Out Loud Competition. She rose above competitors from twenty-eight other counties and will compete in the national finals in Washington, DC, this May.
Jackson dazzled the judges with her breadth of performance: she read “Obedience, or the Lying Tale” by Jennifer Chang; “The Spider and the Fly” by Mary Howitt; and “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas.
North Carolina’s State Competition, now in its eleventh year, features recitations by students from public and private schools, including schools as far away as Jackson County in the mountains to Dare and New Hanover counties on the North Carolina coast.
Jackson will receive a $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the national finals, where she will compete for a $20,000 college scholarship. The state winner’s school also receives $500 to be used to purchase poetry books for its library. The runner-up at the state level receives $100, with his or her school receiving a $200 stipend for buying poetry books.
“I applaud all the high school students across North Carolina that memorized and recited a well-known poem from the past or the present,” said Secretary Susan Kluttz of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Recitation is a powerful way to learn about literary heritage and gain self-confidence while exploring your own creativity.”
The second place winner was Khaiyah (K-Swizzle) Barber from Voyager Academy in Durham. She performed “Ah! Why Because the Dazzling Sun” by Emily Brontë; “I’m a Fool to Love You” by Cornelius Eady; and “Domestic Situation” by Ernest Hilbert.
North Carolina Poet Laureate and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Shelby Stephenson was the featured poet for the event. Each contestant had their photo taken with Stephenson.
Other distinguished members of North Carolina’s literary community served as judges including Anna Lena Phillips Bell, North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green, Gretchen Steele Pratt, Matthew Wimberly, Metta-Sama Melvin, Cassandra Williams, and Nathan Ross Freeman. Event emcees are Michael Beadle, Eurydice White, and Terri Kirby Erickson.
For more information visit www.NCArts.org.