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Rahele Megosha from South Dakota Named 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion

2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Rahele Megosha. Screenshot by James Kegley from Poetry Out Loud national finals video submission

2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Rahele Megosha. Screenshot by James Kegley from Poetry Out Loud national finals video submission

Washington, DC—Following recitations of poetry by Linda Pastan, Jehanne Dubrow, and Mary Lamb, Rahele Megosha, a senior at Washington High School in South Dakota, was announced as the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion during last night’s national finals webcast at arts.gov. Megosha will receive a prize of $20,000.

The second-place winner is Kendall Grimes, a junior at Battle Ground Academy in Tennessee, who receives a $10,000 prize. The third-place winner is Soojin Park, a senior at Auburn High School in Alabama, who receives a $5,000 prize. The remaining six students who competed in the finals will each receive a $1,000 prize. The schools of each of the top nine finalists will receive $500 to purchase poetry materials.

This is the 16th year that the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation have partnered with the state and jurisdictional arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry—both classic and contemporary—through memorization and recitation. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded for Poetry Out Loud. The Poetry Out Loud national finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts.

In a short video about the impact of Poetry Out Loud, Megosha said: “Being able to get to know these different poets and their different poems, it really helps me understand the multitude of perspectives that exist in this world and I think that’s a really beautiful thing.”

Last night’s national finals were the culmination of the 2020-2021 Poetry Out Loud program, with thousands of students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa participating during this school year. Both the national semifinals and finals took place virtually in 2021, with state and jurisdictional champions submitting pre-recorded videos that were reviewed and scored by judges based on criteria including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy. Read more about all 55 state and jurisdictional champions in the national finals program book.

The National Endowment for the Arts also recently announced the 2021 winners of the Poetry Ourselves, a second competition open to the Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions to highlight their original poetry. Read about the winners of that competition on the NEA’s website.

By |2021-06-01T01:14:30-05:00June 1st, 2021|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on Rahele Megosha from South Dakota Named 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion

Watch the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Finals on May 27, 2021

Who will be named the 2021 Poetry Out Loud Champion and receive a $20,000 prize? Out of 55 state and jurisdictional champions who competed in the national semifinals, nine high school students are advancing to the Poetry Out Loud national finals, which will be webcast on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. ET at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud. Actor and writer Shaun Taylor-Corbett will host an evening of recitations by the top nine finalists, with live interviews with the students and the announcement of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

The 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Finalists are:

  • Alabama Champion Soojin Park (Auburn High School)
  • Colorado  Champion Aidyn Reid (Fountain Valley School)
  • Nebraska Champion Alexandra Rose Zaleski (VJ and Angela Skutt Catholic High School)
  • South Dakota Champion Rahele Megosha (Washington High School)
  • Tennessee Champion Kendall Grimes (Battle Ground Academy)
  • Texas Champion Samuel Eluemunoh (Saint Mark’s School of Texas)
  • U.S. Virgin Islands Champion Kaden A. Hughes (Antilles School)
  • Vermont Champion Irén Hangen Vázquez (Burr and Burton Academy)
  • West Virginia Champion Ben Long (Notre Dame High School

There was one honorable mention announced in each of three national semifinals competitions—Lilian Myers (New Jersey), Morgan Love (Mississippi), and Audrey-Rose Sevaaaetasi (American Samoa).

Congratulations to these students! Please be sure to tune in to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals webcast on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. ET at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud. All 55 state and jurisdictional champions will be featured.

The 2021 national finals judges are: poet and executive director of Kundiman Cathy Linh Che; poet and NEA Creative Writing Fellow Eduardo C. Corral; poet, educator, and organizer Gabriel Cortez; scriptwriter, breakbeat poet, educator, and director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Idris Goodwin; director and host of Poetry in America, director of Verse Video Education, and Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University Elisa New, and actor and 2007 Poetry Out Loud national runner-up Branden Wellington.

A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the National Champion, $10,000 for 2nd place, $5,000 for 3rd place, and $1,000 for 4th–9th places. The representing schools/organizations of each of the top nine finalists receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. There was one honorable mention announced on May 2 in each of three national semifinals competitions—Lilian Myers (New Jersey), Morgan Love (Mississippi),  and Audrey-Rose Sevaaaetasi (American Samoa). Those students do not advance to the May 27 finals, but will each receive a $1,000 cash award and a $500 stipend for their school or organization. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded for Poetry Out Loud.

The Poetry Out Loud national finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts. Closed captioning and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided for the Poetry Out Loud national finals.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #POL21 and #IAmPoetryOutLoud and follow the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation at @PoetryOutLoud@NEAArts, and @PoetryFound.

By |2021-05-18T20:32:39-05:00May 11th, 2021|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on Watch the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Finals on May 27, 2021

SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES ILLINOIS STATE POETRY OUT LOUD WINNERS

Catherine Herrera

Catherine Herrera, 2021 Illinois State Champion

From her mouth perfect words exploded,
intact formulas of light and darkness.
She dared to rhyme with words like cochineal
and described the skies like diadem.
Obscurely worded incantations filled the room
with an alchemy that made the very molecules quake.

These lines from “Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam” by Dan Vera were among those recited by Catherine Herrera (Taft High School, Chicago), the 2021 Illinois State champion in the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The competition was held virtually earlier this week.

To win the competition, Herrera also recited “The Collar” by George Herbert and “Bright Copper Kettles” by Vijay Seshadri. Herrera now will advance to the virtual national competition in May.

Riley Tomes from Wheaton-Warrenville High School was declared the runner-up. Rounding out the top five were Madden Delaney (Franklin High School), Candice Epps (Rolling Meadows High School), and Liesl Schrag (Champaign Central High School).

The Illinois State Contest featured recitations by two students from each of eight Poetry Out Loud regions in the state: Central, Chicago-City, Chicago-Metro, Eastern, Northern, South-central, Southern, and Western.

Other students participating from around the state:
Thaddeus Bergschneider (Franklin High School, Franklin)
Emma Carmona (Jefferson High School, Rockford )
Michelle Castelan (Von Steuben High School, Chicago)
Regan Cook (Bureau Valley High School, Manlius)
Ellyne Crowden (Agape Christian High School, Marion)
Jordyn Ginestra (Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville)
Paige Graves (Agape Christian High School, Marion)
Joshua Merz (Freeburg High School, Freeburg)
Genna Roth (Central High School, Champaign)
Raeanna Tremethick (Jefferson High School, Rockford )
Paige Twidell (Bureau Valley High School, Manlius)

Contest staff for the 2021 Illinois State Contest included
RECITATION JUDGES
Joanne Diáz, poet and college professor (Bloomington)
Ronald Lybarger, poet and teacher (Decatur)
Rapheal Mathis, poet and performer (Chicago)
Peggy Oulvey, college professor and forensics coach (Glen Carbon)

ACCURACY JUDGE
Théa Chesley, poet and librarian (Springfield)

SCOREKEEPER
Bob Jessup, mainframe programmer (Springfield)

TECHNICIAN
David Cain, videographer (Girard)

ASSISTANT
Carey Smith, writer (Springfield)

Contest coordinator was Sheila Walk (Springfield Area Arts Council). Program manager was Susan Dickson (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, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Statewide this year, 3079 students and 84 teachers from 26 schools entered the program.

“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 supportive of one another.”

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

By |2021-03-17T22:42:20-05:00March 17th, 2021|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES ILLINOIS STATE POETRY OUT LOUD WINNERS

THE SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES CENTRAL ILLINOIS REGIONAL WINNERS

Lo! ’t is a gala night

   Within the lonesome latter years!  

An angel throng, bewinged, bedight

   In veils, and drowned in tears,  

Sit in a theatre, to see

   A play of hopes and fears,

While the orchestra breathes fitfully  

   The music of the spheres.

-from “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe

 

These words, recited by Ryan Horstman of Springfield’s Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, earned him third place in the Central Illinois Poetry Out Loud Contest held this month.

Thaddeus Bergschneider and Madden Delaney of Franklin High School were the top two finishers in the competition.  They will advance to the Illinois State Finals in March.  Due to the pandemic, all competitions are held virtually.

The Illinois State Contest will feature recitations by two students from each of eight Poetry Out Loud regions in the state.  The Illinois State champion will advance to the national contest.

260 students and 10 teachers in 5 schools began the 2021 Poetry Out Loud season in central Illinois last fall.

Other contestants in the Central Illinois Regional Contest were

Elisabeth Anderson and Maddy Graham, Eureka High School (Eureka)

Makenna Gill and Bethany Wagner, Morton High School (Morton)

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

Alysa Samaniego, Springfield High School (Springfield)

Contest staff for the Central Illinois Regional Contest included

Recitation judges:  Randy Brooks, Carol Davis, and Juliann Quigg

Accuracy judge:  Thèa Chesley

Scorekeeper:  Bob Jessup

Technician:  David Cain

Poetry Out Loud in Illinois is a collaborative project of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and seven 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 Guam, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

More information is available at www.poetryoutloud.org.

By |2021-02-25T08:11:10-05:00February 25th, 2021|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on THE SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES CENTRAL ILLINOIS REGIONAL WINNERS

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 |2020-05-21T14:42:16-05:00May 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 |2020-03-27T18:00:06-05:00March 9th, 2020|News, Poetry Out Loud|Comments Off on 2020 Illinois State Poetry Out Loud Contest Winners