Judson Greene of the Bloomsburg School District won the regional Poetry Out Loud competition held Friday at the Keystone Theatre in Towanda, while Sam Ellis of Athens Area School District came in second place, according to the Bradford County Regional Arts Council.

The seven contestants in the Friday's regional contest had placed first in Poetry Out Loud competitions in their respective schools, said Elaine Poost, director of live programming at the Bradford County Regional Arts Council.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

"There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music," according to the Poetry Out Loud's Web site. "Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class."

Poetry Out Loud "encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage," the Web site states.

The judges for Friday's contest were state Rep. Tina Pickett; Fiona Powell of WVIA; Bradford County Regional Arts Council board member Carimar Patrician and poet Larry Bassett.

Levi Fenton of the Wyalusing Area School District came in third place at the regional competition.

The winners of the 12 regional Poetry Out Loud competitions in Pennsylvania will compete in the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition, which will take place in the governor's mansion in Harrisburg on March 15, Poost said.