Why are students all over the county memorizing and practicing their oral interpretations of great poems? Because it’s Poetry Out Loud season! Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation program for high school students, founded by Dana Gioia during his time as director of the National Endowment for the Arts. It is sponsored in all of the country by the NEA, in all of California by the California Arts Council and in Sonoma County by California Poets in the Schools, Creative Sonoma, the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, and Clover Sonoma. Students select poems from a large online anthology and deliver heart-felt, often mesmerizing renditions. The county winner will advance to the state competition, in Sacramento, March 10 and 11. The winner in Sacramento will advance to the national championships, to be held in Washington DC April 30 and May 1. There is no cost to the school or the students to participate. The high schools involved this year are: Analy, Casa Grande, Creekside, El Molino, Elsie Allen, John Muir Charter, Maria Carrillo, Petaluma, Piner, Rancho Cotate, Roseland Collegiate Prep, Roseland University Prep, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy and Windsor. Feb. 11 - 6-9 p.m. Admission is free. The event takes place at the Central Library, 211 E. St., Santa Rosa.