The Magic of Speaking Poetry Out Loud

A National Contest Makes Verse More Social Than Solitary

Last year, approximately 365,000 high school students participated in Poetry Out Loud—memorizing and reciting poems in organized competitions held across all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. By almost any standard, Poetry Out Loud constitutes a huge success in a period when cultural success stories seem rare.

In retrospect, successful ventures often seem inevitable. But it has been my experience that excellent notions often fail to take hold and prosper, especially in the arts. For that reason, it may be helpful …

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A South L.A. Novelist on Why He Teaches Kids It’s OK to Be Weird

Jervey Tervalon’s Inner City Education Made Him a Passionate Reader and Respected Writer

As a teenager in South Los Angeles, I worked for Anti-Self Destruction, a government-funded neighborhood advocacy nonprofit. There I met Ollie, a handsome, slender supervisor who rocked lime green jumpsuits …

You Want The Arts? Well, The Arts Cost

Debbie Allen on the Hard Work, Persistence, Creativity, Education, Joy—and Yes, Sweat—That The Arts Require

Debbie Allen’s career has spanned film, television, and theater; acting, choreographing, directing, and producing; and serving as an ambassador and teacher of the arts in Los Angeles and around the …

How L.A.’s Fame Began

The Early Days of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Were Not Easy. But Art Never Is.

It was a warm day in September 1985, on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles, when the doors officially opened for the Los Angeles County High School for the …