Poetry Out Loud2022-05-01T19:16:30-05:00

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.

The 2022 season marks the 17th anniversary of Poetry Out Loud. Since its inception, the program has reached almost 4 million high school students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Illinois 2022 : 4597 students and 127 teachers from 28 schools participated.

Illinois Poetry Out Loud 2022 from Dave Cain / UMEDIA, Inc.

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

      • Southern: ArtSpace 304
        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.

SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES STATE POETRY OUT LOUD WINNERS

Poetry Out Loud Logo

There is rhyme and reason in Poetry Out Loud’s state winners for 2022.  The Illinois champion, from tiny Franklin High School, is set to compete for a $20,000 national prize in this popular recitation contest.

“I can’t believe it.  I won!” was champion Cole Delaney’s immediate response when the Springfield Area Arts Council announced his name at the top of 17 regional finalists.

Last September, 28 Illinois high schools and 127 teachers began their participation in Poetry Out Loud.  Statewide, 4,597 students competed in eight regions.  Winners there entered the state contest this week, conducted virtually because of the lingering pandemic.

A panel of language-expert judges viewed videos in which each student recited three poems chosen from several hundred approved possibilites, some classic and some modern.  Naomi Kelly from Wheaton Warrenville South High School placed second, and another student from Franklin, Thaddeus Bergschneider, was third.

“They broke my heart with their sincerity,” recalled judge Mark Turcotte, himself a poet.  Othere judges were Joshua Kryah, professor of English, Morgan Minsk, a former Illinois Poetry Out Loud national finalist, and Demetrice A. Worley, also a  professor of English.  Springfield poet and librarian Théa Chesley checked recitation accuracy and mainframe programmer Bob Jessup handled computer scorekeeping.  Technician David Cain managed the recorded entries.

To win the competition, Delaney recited “The Day” by Geoffrey Brock; “Fate” by Carolyn Wells; and “Not Horses” by Natalie Shapero.  He advances to April’s national competition, this year again being staged virtually.

The Illinois contest featured recitations by winning students from each of eight state regions:  Central, Chicago-City, Chicago-Metro, Eastern, Northern, South-central, Southern, and Western.

Here are names and schools of those regional winners:
Audrey Brumley (Carbondale Community High School)
Grace Casey (Freeburg Community High School)
Lauren Dobbels (Orion High School)
Kelcey Dodd (Jefferson High School, Rockford)
Rebecca Drake (Massac County High School)
Olivia Goodley (Annawan High School)
Veda Kommineni (Edwardsville High School)
Skylar Lim (Taft High School, Chicago)
Jocelyn Lin (Carbondale Community High School)
Keaton Meier (Hersey High School, Arlington Heights)
Ariana Mizan (University Laboratory High School, Urbana)
Mabolanle Salawu (Mather High School, Chicago)
Wade Schacht (Champaign Central High School)

The contest coordinator was Sheila Walk, executive director of the Springfield Area Arts Council, assisted by local writer Carey Smith.  State program manager was Susan Dickson of the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Poetry Out Loud in Illinois is a collaborative project of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and seven arts agencies who host regional contests.  As a national program, Poetry Out Loud:  National Recitation Contest 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.

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

Cole Delaney

Cole Delaney, Franklin High School

SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES CENTRAL ILLINOIS REGIONAL WINNERS

From “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca

I am offering this poem to you,

since I have nothing else to give.

Keep it like a warm coat

when winter comes to cover you,

or like a pair of thick socks

the cold cannot bite through.

I love you. 

These words, among those recited by Thaddeus Bergschneider of Franklin High School, earned him first place in the Central Illinois Poetry Out Loud Contest held at the Hoogland Center for the Arts on Thursday afternoon, February 10, 2022.

Cole Delaney of Franklin High School  and Jackson Vogel of Eureka High School were the second- and third-place finishers in the competition.  Due to the pandemic, the regional contest audience was limited to parents and teachers of the contestants.

Bergschneider and Delaney will advance to the virtual Illinois State Contest in March.  The Illinois State Contest will feature recitations by two students from each Poetry Out Loud region in the state.  The Illinois State champion will advance to the national competition.

973 students and 17 teachers in 6 schools began the 2022 Poetry Out Loud season in central Illinois last fall.

Other contestants in the Central Illinois Regional Contest were

Elizabeth Palagi and Jazmyn Schnetzler, Eisenhower High School (Decatur)

Emma Ingersoll, Eureka High School (Eureka)

Josephine Brunner, Lutheran High School (Springfield)

Jillian Herter and Gracie Reeder, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School (Springfield)

Dallis Anderson, Springfield High School (Springfield)

Contest staff for the Central Illinois Regional Contest included

Recitation judges:  Anne Bishoff (Athens), Matt Schwartz (Jacksonville), Shatriya Smith (Springfield)

Accuracy judge:  Thèa Chesley (Springfield)

Scorekeeper:  Bob Jessup (Springfield)

Prompter:  June Russell (Lewiston)

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.

 From left to right - Second: Cole Delaney; First: Thaddeus Bergschneider; Third: Jackson Vogel

From left to right – Second:  Cole Delaney;   First:  Thaddeus Bergschneider;   Third:  Jackson Vogel

Photo by Will Armitage