In the temper and the tantrum, in the well-kept arboretum

I am waiting, like an animal,

For poetry.

From “That Everything’s Inevitable” by Katy Lederer


These words, recited by Aasne Daniels (mistress of ceremonies), were heard by about 100 people gathered for the Central Illinois POETRY OUT LOUD Contest held on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield.

Cassandra Bradbury and Cole White of Pawnee High School were the top two finishers in the competition.  They will advance to the Illinois State Finals in Springfield at the Hoogland Center for the Arts on Friday, March 8, 2019, at 10:00 A.M.

Springfield Southeast High School’s Sara Kennedy was named as an alternate.

The Illinois State Contest will feature recitations by two students from each of eight Poetry Out Loud regions in the state:  Alton, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago-City, Chicago-Suburbs, Rockford, Rock Island, and Springfield.  The Illinois State Champion will advance to the national contest in Washington, D.C., in late April.

Over 1,395 students and 35 teachers began the 2019 Poetry Out Loud season in central Illinois last fall.  Today, 18 students competed.

Other contestants in the Central Illinois Regional Contest were

Khadija Dear and Ella Smith, Eisenhower High School (Decatur)

Genna Nielsen and Danielle Rogers, Eureka High School (Eureka)

Bethany Bergschneider and Madden Delaney, Franklin High School (Franklin)

Grace Henderson, Lutheran High School (Springfield)

Emma Halteman and Jamie Hefley, Rochester High School (Rochester)

Claire Carter and Ruthie Kinion, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School (Springfield)

Ian Unsbee, Southeast High School (Springfield)

Joy Brown, Springfield High School (Springfield)

Claire Bushur and Tory Tensen, Teutopolis High School (Teutopolis)

Contest staff for the 2019 Central Illinois Regional Contest included

Recitation judges:  Anne Bishoff, Reggie Guyton, Nikki Overcash

Accuracy judge:  Thèa Chesley

Prompter:  Jerry Johnson

Poetry Out Loud in Illinois is a collaborative project of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and seven arts agencies, each of which hosts a regional contest.  The Poetry Out Loud:  National Recitation Contest is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through analysis, memorization, performance, and competition.  The National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, in conjunction with state arts agencies, support this nation-wide program with participants from all fifty states plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

More information is available at www.poetryoutloud.org.

Cassandra Bradbury, champion, and Courtney Wick, Arts Council board president

(Credit – William Richards)