The best poetry is meant to be read aloud. Even better, it’s meant to be performed. In some circles, poetry is competition. Think rap battles without the guns. Poetry slams can be intense, energetic, crowd-thrilling experiences. This is my hope for the Poetry Out Loud Central Washington Regional Finals at the Seasons on Sunday.

I don’t know their rules, but the description is thus: “Students from area high schools will compete for a position in the state and national finals by reciting classic and contemporary poetry.” This tells me a couple things. This is not a poetry slam, in which contestants read original works. Selections could range from Homer to Billy Collins and everything in between.

For as much as I love low-brow entertainment, I like poetry. I’ve written poetry — even published poetry. I read poetry for classes and for fun. This event sounds like fun to me. This is also a good opportunity to support students involved in activities other than sports. These kids deserve your applause just as much as those making baskets and scoring touchdowns.

Winners will advance to state finals March 9 in Tacoma. Good luck to all competitors.

Poetry Out Loud Central Washington Regional Finals

1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27

The Seasons

101 N. Naches Ave.

• Backstage Pass is a new blog on covering pop culture from Hollywood to your backyard. T.J. Tranchell, a freelance journalist and Herald-Republic customer service clerk, can be reached at