Poetry Out Loud2020-04-07T14:40:25-05:00

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a competition that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through analysis, memorization, and recitation.  The program helps teens master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

April 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of Poetry Out Loud. Since its inception, the program has reached more than 3.8 million high school students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Illinois 2020 : 10,130 students and 210 teachers from 42 high schools participated.

Illinois Poetry Out Loud 2020 from UMEDIA on Vimeo.

The Illinois Arts Council Agency works with these regional partners to produce Poetry Out Loud in Illinois:

      • Southern: Carbondale Community Arts
        Southwestern: Southwestern Illinois College
        Northern: Rockford Area Arts Council
        Eastern: 40 North/88 West
        Chicago and Suburbs: The Poetry Center of Chicago
        Central: Springfield Area Arts Council
        Western: Quad City Arts

For more information, please visit www.poetryoutloud.org or call 217-753-3519, or you may email Central Illinois regional coordinator Sheila Walk at programs@springfieldartsco.org.

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.

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

Poetry Out Loud Footage – 2019 National Book Festival

The NEA hosted 2019 POL National Champ Isabella Callery (Minnesota) and National Runner-up Scottlynn Ballard (Illinois) at the National Book Festival this year. They were in conversation with poet and national finals judge Jericho Brown, and they both recited gracefully and spoke eloquently about POL and their connection to poetry. You can find the footage of the session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdEGN7NRcC0

Illinois State Champion Takes Second Place At Nationals

Illinois’ own Scottlynn Ernestine Ballard won second place at the Poetry Out Loud National Competition in Washington, D.C. on May 2nd, 2019. She is a junior at Edwardsville Senior High School.

(Watch a video of her recitation of  “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy on YouTube)

Minnesota’s Isabella Callery (Anishinaabe), a senior at Arcadia Charter School, received first place. Georgia’s Alejandro J. Campo, a junior at Flowery Branch High School, won third.

More than 275,000 students across the nation participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition. The competition started in the classroom, then moved forward to school, regional, and state competitions.  Champions from all fifty states as well as Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and  District of Columbia  participated in the national final.

The Poetry Out Loud national finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency and other state arts agencies. Since 2005, 3.8 million students from 16,000 high schools nationwide have participated in this program.

2019 State Poetry Out Loud Contest Winners Announced

Photo: Illinois State Champion Scottlynn Ballard with Special Guest Justine Haka with award designed by Jensine Williams [Photographer: William Richards]

 Scottlynn Ballard from Edwardsville Senior High School (Edwardsville) was declared the winner at the Illinois State Contest of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest held on Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield.  She will advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in late April.  To win the competition, Scottlynn recited “Worth” by Marilyn Nelson, “Self-Help” by Michael Ryan, and “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaunessy.

Alyssa Argent, William Howard Taft High School (Chicago), was named runner-up.  Rounding out the top five were Nico Chiligiris (Central High School, Champaign), Charles Hsu (Deerfield High School, Deerfield), and Bushra Khan (Maine East High School, Park Ridge).

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.

2019 Central Illinois Regional Contest

Right: Cassandra Bradbury and Courtney Wick  Left: Cassandra Bradbury, Cole White, and Sara Kennedy [Photographer: William Richards]

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.  18 students competed the Central Illinois Regional contest. There name are:

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