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SIOUX CITY -- The public is invited to the Sioux City competition of the "Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest" at 2 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Betty Strong Encounter Center, 900 Larsen Park Road.

Admission is free for this program, which is in cooperation with the Encounter Center, Lamb Arts Regional Theatre, the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Now in its 14th year of national competition, "Poetry Out Loud" encourages the study of great poetry and the opportunity for students, grades 9 through 12, to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literature.

"'Poetry Out Loud' is a wonderful program that gives young people a chance to explore the world of poetry," Lamb Arts Regional Theatre executive director Diana Wooley said. "It's amazing to see how excited these students become when they 'crack' a poem's meaning."

The winner of the Sioux City competition will advance to the state level March 3. The "Poetry Out Loud" national finals will be held April 29-May 1 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. 

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