Chris Schulz Published

W.Va. Senior Named Finalist In National Poetry Competition

A microphone in front of a crowd in a theater.
Bridgeport High School senior Morgan Sprouse will compete for the title of 2023 Poetry Out Loud National Champion May 10, 2023.
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A West Virginia high school student has been named a finalist in the national Poetry Out Loud competition. 

Bridgeport High School senior Morgan Sprouse will compete for the title of 2023 Poetry Out Loud National Champion and a $20,000 award Wednesday night in Washington, D.C.

Sprouse is one of nine finalists out of a field of 54 state and jurisdictional champions from across the country to compete reciting classic and contemporary poetry. 

She says she is grateful to be a part of the first in person Poetry Out Loud since 2019.

“There’s such a connection to be made when you’re looking at someone, and you can feel their presence,” Sprouse said. “It’s just so nice to be there and be in front of people and get to convey your emotions in front of a group of people and know that they have heard you.”

As a student also involved in her school’s theater department, Sprouse said she found Poetry Out Loud as a welcome distraction during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“My sophomore year it was in the very midst of COVID and I was just looking for things to be involved in even if it was online,” she said. “I was a little bored, I was tired of having to stay in and not having anything to perform and do because that’s really what I love to do.”

Sprouse will perform two poems, “Perhaps the world ends here” by Joy Harjo and “Shall earth no more inspire thee” by Emily Brontë. If selected for the final round, she will perform “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca.
A one-time, live online broadcast of the competition will be available here starting at 7 p.m.