CCT: Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism Announces Poetry Out Loud Partnership With The Institute Library

Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism Announces

Poetry Out Loud Partnership With

The Institute Library


HARTFORD, Conn. (January 14, 2011) – The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism (CCT) is pleased to announce its partnership with the Institute Library in New Haven to implement Connecticut’s 6th annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) program.  The Institute Library will collaborate with CCT on this year’s program to support student instructional activities and the Connecticut state finals competition.

“We are thrilled to engage in this partnership” said Karen Senich, CCT Executive Director. “This [partnership] enhances an already great opportunity for Connecticut high school students and teachers.  Participants will gain a tremendous amount from the Library’s literary expertise and deep connections to this state’s poetry community.”

Since the 2005-06 school year, high school students from across Connecticut have benefited from Poetry Out Loud, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. This free recitation program encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about our literary heritage. Participating teachers receive free multimedia educational materials to augment their curriculum and engage in classroom, school-level and state competition.

On November 8th, forty-five teachers from twenty-two Connecticut high schools attended workshops presented by Elizabeth Thomas, noted Connecticut poet and artist educator, and Donna Glick, Director of Education at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company and coordinator of Massachusetts’ POL program. Teachers are now preparing their students for live poetry recitation contests in their respective schools, supported by visiting theater and poetry artists.

Institute Library President and Board Chairman Greg Pepe is enthusiastic about the program’s co-sponsorship by the Institute Library.  He says, “The Institute Library is honored to act with CCT to bring this program to Connecticut’s students once again.  Throughout its long, rich history, the Institute Library has worked to bring all manner of programming to Connecticut’s residents, having sponsored speakers as varied as Frederick Dougles and Mark Twain.  Who knows whether the next great Connecticut orator, poet or statesman will be featured in this year’s POL event!”

In March, 2011, school champions and their teachers will participate in workshops conducted by Connecticut artists in preparation for the state finals which will be held at Southern Connecticut State University later that month.

2009-2010 Poetry Out Loud program includes:

Teacher Professional Development Workshop – November 8, 2010

This full-day workshop provided curriculum materials, promoted understanding of the role of recitation in teaching poetry, public speaking, and presentation skills and prepared teachers to conduct POL in their classrooms.


Teaching Artist in schools – December 2010-February 2011

Artist visits provide face-to-face interaction and dialogue between POL students and a professional writer, poet or theater artist.


School Champion Workshop – March 1, 2011 (snow date March 2nd)

School champions, runners-up and their teachers work side-by-side with professional artists in honing poetry recitation and competition skills in preparation for the state finals.


State Finals Competition – March 16, 2011 (snow date March 17th)

School champions compete for the honor of 2011 Connecticut Poetry Out Loud State Champion and the opportunity to represent Connecticut in the National Finals in Washington, DC in April.


For more information about Poetry Out Loud, please visit

To learn more about Connecticut’s Poetry Out Loud Program and to find out how your school can participate contact Alice-Anne Harwood: (203) 512-7614 or




About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great arts to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism brings together tourism, history and the arts. Its mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut’s cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the state. For more information, log on to

About the Institute Library
The Young Men's Institute Library (founded 1826) in New Haven, Connecticut's oldest living literary institution and one of the last remaining membership libraries in North America. During much of the 1800s, the Young Men's Institute was a center of literary life, adult education, and social debate in New Haven, offering a variety of popular classes to men and women, attracting such notable speakers as Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Frederick Douglass, and operating as the largest circulating library in the city. The Institute Library has occupied its present home since 1878.  Since May 2008 the Institute Library has been home to the Poetry Institute which brings together poetry lovers from across the community to enjoy vibrant, exciting evenings of poetry with featured readers from a wide variety of poetic backgrounds.


Karen Senich
Executive Director
Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
(860) 256-2727 (Leigh Johnson)