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There’s a lot of buzz at the National Endowment for the Arts (headquartered in the Old Post Office Pavilion) about Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s (Dem.) decision to cut the state’s arts budget. Teacher Margaret Charette, a Poetry Out Loud advocate, testified before the Michigan State Senate Appropriations Subcommittee in defense of the arts budget today, citing Hasari Pal: “All that is not given is lost.”

NEA’s Poetry Out Loud budget is $1 million, plus $500,000 from Chicago’s Poetry Foundation. That comes to $20,000 per state, which the participating states must match as part of a partnership agreement with the NEA. Granholm’s decision to cut Michigan’s budget is a bit of a shock, especially since most states overmatch the $20,000.

It’s also an especially bad time to show a fractured front, as the BBC is launching a similar competition and has contacted the NEA for advice on how to get its program up and running. The BBC will allow students to choose from 10 poems to recite, while Poetry Out Loud has a list of over 600 poems.

Andrew Beaujon’s response to this? “America: better than Britain.”

Reporting by Andrew Beaujon