Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Our National Champion

Anita Norman, winner of the Tennessee Poetry Out Loud competition, takes home the national prize

Earlier this week, we told you about Anita Norman, the Tennessee winner of the state’s Poetry Out Loud finals. Today we’re happy to report that Norman, a junior at Arlington High School near Memphis, has been awarded first place in the national championship held this week in Washington, D.C. Art Works, the blog of the National Endowment for the Arts, has the story:

You know what they say: in the end there can be only one. And at the end of the two-day 2014 Poetry Out Loud National Finals, that one was Anita Norman of Arlington, Tennessee. With bold, confident recitations of poems by Stanley Kunitz, Robert Hayden, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, the Arlington High School junior earned the top spot out of the approximately 365,000 student-competitors who participated in the program this year. (Ohio’s Lake Wilburn took second place, followed by New Jersey’s Natasha Simone Vargas.) After Norman’s second recitation—Hayden’s “Mourning Poem for the Queen of Sunday”—emcee Neda Ulaby asked what she’d remember most about the experience. Norman replied, “This trumps everything.” Norman’s winnings include a $20,000 award and $500 for her school to purchase poetry books for its library. And major-league bragging rights, of course.

Click here to read an interview with Norman and watch a video of her recitation of “Let the Light Enter” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper.