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Poetry Out Loud 2020 – Cash Awards Distributed, Video Recitations & 2020 Poetry Ourselves Winners Announced

Washington, DC— The National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation are recognizing and celebrating the 2020 Poetry Out Loud™ student champions by distributing cash prize awards, sharing videos of poetry recitations by participants across the United States, and announcing the winners of the Poetry Ourselves contest.

Honoring Champions Across the Country

The 2020 Poetry Out Loud national finals were cancelled due to COVID-19, and several state finals were either cancelled or held virtually. Poetry Out Loud will honor both the students who won their state Poetry Out Loud competition (state champions) as well as students who advanced to the state finals in states that were unable to hold a competition.

In the coming weeks, videos of these students reciting a selection of poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology will be released through arts.gov and poetryoutloud.org as well as on Twitter.

“From analyzing poems to spending hours memorizing and honing their recitations, we know the extraordinary amount of hard work and personal effort that each student put into the program,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “While we are disappointed not to have a national finals competition this year, we look forward to sharing students’ recitations through this video project and the resumption of the competition next school year.”

To honor the achievements of these students, each state champion will receive a $1,000 prize. In states where the finals were cancelled, the state arts agency will receive $1,000 to either award to a state champion named at a later date or divide among the students who advanced to the state finals. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded for Poetry Out Loud.

“Poetry Out Loud is a premiere event to celebrate months of preparation culminating with poetry at center stage, and we share in the disappointment of cancelling the national finals,” said Henry Bienen, president of the Poetry Foundation. “We preserved our commitment to recognize the students’ passion and hard work by awarding the prizes in as equitable a way as possible.”

Celebrating Original Work by Young Poets

Competitors also had the opportunity to participate in the Poetry Ourselves competition by submitting original works of poetry in spoken or written form.

A companion to Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Ourselves competition gives students the opportunity to submit original poetry. This year, Poetry Ourselves submissions were judged by poet Carmen Gimenéz Smith. The competition was open to state champions as well as students who advanced to their state final in states that were unable to hold a competition this year.

Tessa Kresch, a student at Saint Johns School in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the 2020 Poetry Ourselves spoken poetry winner for the poem “I Wonder What Will Happen Tomorrow.” Kieran Ellis, the 2020 Idaho Poetry Out Loud State Champion and a student at Kuna High School in Kuna, is the 2020 Poetry Ourselves written poetry winner for the poem “Drought.”

Eden Getahun, the 2020 California Poetry Out Loud State Champion and a student at CK McClatchy High School in Sacramento, is the 2020 Poetry Ourselves spoken poetry runner-up for the poem “Never Forget.” Max Feliciano Laracuente, a student at Residential Center of Academic Opportunities of Mayaguez (C.R.O.E.M.) in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, is the 2020 Poetry Ourselves written poetry runner-up for the poem “Going Home.”

These winning submissions are available at the links above.

About Poetry Out Loud
A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud™ is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. By performing poetry, students can master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn more about literary history and contemporary life. Since 2005, more than four million students from 16,000 high schools in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have participated in Poetry Out Loud. Starting with the 2020-21 school year, Poetry Out Loud will expand to Guam and American Samoa.

For schools that choose to participate, the program starts in the classroom, where teachers may use the Poetry Out Loud toolkit to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions. Students select, memorize, and recite poems from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. Winners advance from the classroom to the school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, DC. More information about the program and how to participate in the 2020-21 competition is available at poetryoutloud.org.

Follow the Poetry Out Loud on Facebook and Twitter.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Follow the National Endowment for the Arts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, visit poetryfoundation.org.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook, Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram.

Find this article on The National Endowment for the Arts website Arts.gov.

By |2020-05-21T14:42:16-06:00May 21st, 2020|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on Poetry Out Loud 2020 – Cash Awards Distributed, Video Recitations & 2020 Poetry Ourselves Winners Announced

2020 Illinois State Poetry Out Loud Contest Winners

Photograph of Hsu and Weidner (William Richards, photographer; Award designed by Jensine Stickley)

THE SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES

ILLINOIS STATE POETRY OUT LOUD WINNERS

 

“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?

   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too.”

These lines from “To Autumn” by John Keats were among those recited by Charles Hsu (Deerfield High School), the 2020 Illinois State champion in the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.  The competition was held on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield.

To win the competition, Hsu also recited “Learning to love America” by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim and “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca.  Hsu will advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in late April.

Elizabeth Weidner from Teutopolis High School was declared the runner-up.  Rounding out the top five were Scottlynn Ballard (Edwardsville High School), Jada Cox (Jefferson High School, Rockford), and Sylvia Hughes (Eureka High School).

The Illinois State Contest featured recitations by two students from each of eight Poetry Out Loud regional contests in the state:  Belleville, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago-City, Chicago-Metro, Rockford, Rock Island, and Springfield.

 Photo: The Contestants

Other students participating from around the state:

Nada Abdulaziz, Jefferson High School (Rockford)

Nereyda Anguiano, Rolling Meadows High School

Regan Cook, Bureau Valley High School (Manlius)

Erin Englebright, Agape Christian High School (Marion)

Paige Graves, Agape Christian High School (Marion)

Catherine Herrera, Taft High School (Chicago)

Grace Lambert, Sacred-Heart Griffin High School (Springfield)

Arian Mizan, University of Illinois Laboratory High School (Urbana)

Adam Stein, Freeburg High School

Alishiana Uyao, Mather High School (Chicago)

Taylor Walton, Orion High School

  Photo: Judges (left to right) : Anderson, Betts, Duchrow, Mathis, Chesley, Degler-Whitmer 

Contest staff for the 2020 Illinois State Contest included 

Recitation Judges:

Tara Betts, Chicago – poet and teacher

Stephen Duchrow, Elgin – performer and arts administrator

Karen Hunter Anderson, Rochester – educational administrator and writer

Rapheal Mathis, Chicago – poet and performer

Accuracy Judge:  Théa Chesley, Springfield – poet and librarian

Prompter:  Julia Degler-Whitmore, Mattoon – singer and arts administrator

Scorekeeper:  Bob Jessup, Springfield

M.C.:  Jim Leach, Springfield

Special guest at the contest was Susan Dickson, program director at the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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.

In Illinois this year, 42 high schools were part of Poetry Out Loud.  210 teachers.  More than 10,000 students.

“Among the benefits of the Poetry Out Loud program is that it helps young women and men find something they’re good at.  These students are so brave and talented and insightful,” said Sheila Walk, contest organizer, during the post-contest reception, “and they are competitive yet supportive of one another.”

More information is available at www.poetryoutloud.org or from the Springfield Area Arts Council.

Photo: Hsu and Dickson

Photo: Weidner and Dickson

By |2020-03-27T18:00:06-06:00March 9th, 2020|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on 2020 Illinois State Poetry Out Loud Contest Winners

2020 Central Illinois Regional Contest Held: Sixteen students from around Illinois will participate in state-wide poetry recitation contest

Photo: Alternate Joy Brown, Springfield High School, with Lambert and Hughes at central Illinois regional contest – Hoogland Center for the Arts – February 13, 2020  (Photographer: Kari Bedford)

“A poet is someone who can pour light into a cup, then raise it to nourish your beautiful parched, holy mouth.”  حافظ  Hafiz

Sixteen students from around Illinois will participate in state-wide poetry recitation contest.

Scottlynn Ballard, Edwardsville High School senior, will return to Springfield to defend her 2019 championship title.

Grace Lambert, Sacred-Heart Griffin High School, and  Sylvia Hughes, will represent the Central Illinois region.

Award-winning teenagers from around Illinois are set to compete in Springfield for a slot in the 2020 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C., in late April. This event is free and open to the public. It is set to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Monday, March 2, 2020, in the LRS Theatre of the Hoogland Center for the Arts at 420 South Sixth Street in downtown Springfield.

The Springfield Area Arts Council will host sixteen high school students who were winners and runners-up in competitions held this month in eight regions spanning Illinois. Starting in their own classrooms, these students study, memorize, and recite renowned classic and contemporary poetry at each level of competition. A panel of poets, teachers, and performers judges each recitation. The state champion will receive a trip to the nation’s capital to join a field of fifty-three students vying for the top prize, a $20,000 scholarship.

The Springfield Area Arts Council coordinates this annual contest in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Poetry Out Loud is backed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Now in its fifteenth year, the contest is designed to encourage interest in poetry at the high school level. In Illinois this season, over 10,000 students and 200 teachers from more than 40 Illinois public and private high schools participated.

More information available at www.poetryoutloud.org.

By |2020-03-09T05:58:30-06:00February 27th, 2020|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on 2020 Central Illinois Regional Contest Held: Sixteen students from around Illinois will participate in state-wide poetry recitation contest