Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national poetry education program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. It is a project the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation that began in 2006 and last year engaged 365,000 students in competition for $50,000 in individual scholarship awards and school stipends. Poetry Out Loud is presented in Illinois through a partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, which works with arts organizations throughout the state to reach thousands of Illinois high school students each year.
"Just keep doing this! Poetry is a wonderful gift. A good poem is a friend for life."
The 2016 Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition brought school winners from Carbondale, Clay City, and Marion to the Artspace 304, where they recited poems they had studied from the Poetry Out Loud anthology.
Judges for the 2016 contest were Rodrigo Carramiana, Associate Professor of Mathmatics & Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities at SIU Carbondale, Actor and Director Kevin Purcell; and Cynthia Roth, published poet and Instructor in the SIUC School of Art and Design.
Each performance was scored using a standardized rubric that included physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty (of selected poem), evidence of understanding, and overall performance.
Regional winner Caroline Shaffer and runner-up Katelyn Wittenborn, both of Trinity Christian School went on to compete at the state finals in Springfield.
Carbondale Community Arts has coordinated the competition in the southernmost region of the state since 2008.
Attendance at the state contest is also free, accessible, and open to the public.State and territory winners advance to National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, DC, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.
To learn more about Poetry Out Loud and explore the poems available for recitation in the Poetry Out Loud competitions, visit www.PoetryOutLoud.org.