Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Henry Real Bird, Pat Frolander and Rick Kempa to serve as judges for March 4-5 Poetry Out Loud competition in Cheyenne

Henry Real Bird, Montana poet laureate emeritus
The 2013 Wyoming Poetry Out Loud state competition will take place March 4-5 in Cheyenne. Fourteen student competitors, teachers, parents and guests are expected. Guest judges this year are Henry Real Bird, Pat Frolander and Rick Kempa.

Born and raised on the Crow Indian Reservation, Henry Real Bird is a former Montana Poet Laureate (2009-2011). Real Bird has punched cows, rodeoed, and now ranches and raises bucking horses. He holds a master’s degree in general education from MSU Billings and has taught school from kindergarten to college levels. He has worked with the YMCA’s Writer’s Voice, won the Western Heritage Award for the National Cowboy Hall of Fame,  performed at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Arts Festival, and performs annually at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. Real Bird has had six anthologies, five poetry collections and twelve children’s books published, along with many articles, tapes and CDs.

Patricia Frolander, Wyoming’s Poet Laureate, works the family ranch near Sundance, WY with her husband, Robert. Patricia’s publications include Grassland Genealogy (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and, Married Into It, (High Plains Press, 2011), which won the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum’s Wrangler Award for Best Poetry Book of 2011; the Willa Cather Award by Women Writing the West for the 2012 Best Poetry Book; and Best Woman Writer of 2012 by High Plains Book Awards.

Rick Kempa, teaches writing and directs the Honors Program at Western Wyoming College. He is the author of two books of poems, Keeping the Quiet (Bellowing Ark Press, 2008), and Ten Thousand Voices, (Littoral Press). He is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a past recipient of a Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship, and is a current member of the Council’s Artist Roster. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 1987.

This year’s student contestants are from Sundance, Hulett, Buffalo, Hanna, Ft. Washakie, Riverton, Kaycee, Shoshoni, Cheyenne, Casper, Clearmont, Worland, Laramie, and Lander.

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 announced at the awards ceremony the next morning, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on March 5 in the Capitol Rotunda.

The winner from each state and a chaperone receives an all-expense-paid trip to compete in Washington, D.C., April 29-30 at the national finals. Among the activities is the Congressional Breakfast, where students get to meet and have photos taken with the state’s Legislators. Scholarships totaling $50,000 are awarded to the national champion and the other placers.

Poetry Out Loud is 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.

Justine Haka from the Poetry Foundation in NYC will be a special guest of the Wyoming Arts Council at the Cheyenne Poetry Out Loud  events.  

FMI: Linda Coatney, 307-777-6393 or linda.coatney@wyo.gov

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