National Storytelling Festival Announces Special Guest – Anita Norman

The International Storytelling Center would like to announce special guest Anita Norman, the 2014 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. She will perform at this year’s National Storytelling Festival!

From a competitive field of 365,000 students nationwide, Anita Norman, a student at Arlington High School in Arlington, Tennessee, won the title of 2014 National Champion at the National Finals held in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. With this achievement, Norman received a $20,000 award and her high school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

Norman’s final recitation Wednesday evening was “Let the Light Enter,” a poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Norman also recited Stanley Kunitz’s “The Layers” and Robert E. Hayden’s “Mourning Poem for the Queen of Sunday”. When asked about which poem a person should recite, Norman said, “The poem should make a statement and be a piece of who you are.” Listen to a recitation by Anita at the 2014 Poetry Out Loud Competition.

A partnership among the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Anita’s appearance at the 2014 National Storytelling Festival has been made possible by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission.