For Immediate Release

John Leguizamo to Host 2010 National Finals of Poetry Out Loud

Free event takes place tomorrow night at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium

April 26, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC—John Leguizamo will join NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Poetry Foundation President John Barr to host the national finals of the 2010 Poetry Out Loud Competition at Lisner Auditorium on the George Washington University Campus, 730 21st Street NW, in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, April 27, at 7:00 PM. No tickets or reservations are required.

John Leguizamo began his career as a stand-up comic in the New York nightclub circuit, and is now famous for his one-man stage shows. Leguizamo has starred or co-starred in numerous films, including Gamer, The Ministers, Love in the Time of Cholera, Romeo + Juliet, and Hangin’ with the Homeboys. Leguizamo co-produced the 2001 film Piñero about the troubled life of Puerto Rican poet and playwright, Miguel Piñero. He has also written and starred in several Broadway and Off-Broadway productions including Mambo Mouth, which won an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award, as well as Spic-O-Rama, which won a Drama Desk Award.

WHAT: On Tuesday, April 27, John Leguizamo will host as nine high school students compete to become the 2010 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. These students come from a field of 53 semi-finalists who competed in poetry recitation championships in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books will be given out on Tuesday night.

WHO: Featured speakers and participants at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals: NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman; Poetry Foundation President John Barr; National Finals guest judges including author Garrison Keillor; actress and activist Alfre Woodard; poets Valerie Martínez and Jane Shore; poet and critic Adam Kirsch; Arlington, Virginia, native William Farley, who was named the 2009 Poetry Out Loud National Champion; and award-winning actor John Leguizamo.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 27, 7:00–9:00 PM, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC.

WHERE: The nine National Finalists will be available for pre-event interviews from 6:00–6:30 PM.  Photo and interview opportunities with finalists, judges, and featured speakers take place onstage after the event, 9:15–9:45 PM.

CONTACT: Media must RSVP to Sally Gifford, NEA Communications, 202-682-5606.  Video crews covering the Tuesday night National Finals must arrive by 6:45 PM to reserve a space.

The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are free and open to the public; no reservations or tickets are necessary. For more information call 202-682-5001.

FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/poetryoutloud, hashtag #POL

For more information on the program, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.

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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 www.poetryfoundation.org.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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