Mississippi Arts Commission (L-R): Malcolm White (MAC Exec Director), Morgan Love, Monica Gilmore-Love, Clinnesha Sibley (Literary Instructor). Morgan is the 2020 State Champion for Poetry Out Loud, and will travel to Washington, D.C. in April for the national competition.

A junior literary art student at Mississippi School of the Arts is the state champion for Poetry Out Loud, a competition where students recite selected poems in front of a panel of judges. Morgan Love, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, set the tone for poetry recitation in the state.

The event, sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts, was held at the studios of Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies.

Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals. Awards and placements are determined solely by the judges’ scores based on the Poetry Out Loud Evaluation Criteria.

Murrah High School Speech and Debate congratulates Morgan on twitter.

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, DC to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for their school. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually.

“I’m very excited. I’m on edge right now,” said Love. This was not her first time on stage. Morgan has competed in Poetry Out Loud as a student at Murrah High School in the Jackson Public Schools, prior to transferring to Mississippi School of the Arts. This year, though, she reached an even higher potential as a student of the literary fine arts program.

While in our nation’s capital, Morgan plans to visit her sister, Jaelon Love and spend some time. “Plane tickets are really expensive from Mississippi to D.C., so I’m really excited about seeing her,” she said. Jaelon, an MSA theatre graduate, is currently a theatre student at Howard University.

Morgan was interviewed by Michael Guidry in Segment 3 of Morning Edition, a radio show by Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Click Here to listen and read episode details (segment begins at 19:00 minute mark). The full, third round piece by Morgan can be heard after the interview.

Congratulations, Morgan, on your accomplishment!

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