Poetry Out Loud

40 North is pleased to announce the winners of the Eastern Illinois regional contest for 2017 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The regional runner-up is Symone Howell from Champaign Central High School who recited "Hope is the Thing With Feathers" by Emily Dickinson and "Passing" by Toi Dericotte, and the regional champion is Isabella Cooper from Danville High School who recited "The Snowstorm" by Ralph Waldo Emerson and "The Spring" by Thomas Carew. The competition, presented in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

On Wednesday, February 22, high school students from area high schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud Eastern Illinois regional contest at the Champaign Public Library. Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC.

The students recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 650 classic and contemporary poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, and accuracy. Teachers introduced poetry recitation in the classroom using materials created by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, including a standards-based Teacher’s Guide, a website, a Learning Recitation DVD, and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins and Rita Dove.

The two regional winners will advance to the Illinois state contest on March 10 in Springfield, IL. Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship, April 25-26, 2017. The school of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

The competition, presented in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

About Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest for high school students, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and by the Illinois Arts Council in partnership with 40 North.

Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to explore poetry as they master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The program uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level, where teachers use free online and printed materials to lead students through lessons in literature interpretation, close-reading, and formal recitation. Students choose poems to study from a vast database of published poetry, and then compete at bringing their poems to life through recitation.

40 North | 88 West joined as the Eastern Illinois regional partner and organizer for the '07/'08 school year, leading to state victories in 2009 and 2012.

Poetry Out Loud is a 100% FREE program, there are no costs to teachers, schools, or students wishing to participate. All official Poetry Out Loud materials are provided, and cooresponding travel expenses will be covered or reimbursed at request.

The Eastern Illinois region includes the following counties: Champaign, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, De Witt, Couglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby, and Vermilion.