IACA Announces Illinois State POL Winners


THE ILLINOIS ARTS COUNCIL AGENCY IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SPRINGFIELD AREA ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES THE ILLINOIS STATE POETRY OUT LOUD WINNERS

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 statewide competition was held virtually this year.  

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 six Illinois not-for-profit arts agencies and one community college, 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.

In Illinois 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 virtual post-contest reception, “and they are supportive of one another.”

“The Poetry Out Loud program fosters interest among the next generation of poetry readers, and writers. Connecting students to poetry through the engaging format of recitation brings energy, and awareness to this timeless art form,” said Joshua Davis-Ruperto, executive director of the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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

 

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