Did Someone Say Poetry Out Loud 2023?

The Chicago Poetry Center is now in its 6th year as Chicagoland Regional Host Organization for the national youth poetry competition, Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Out Loud is a collaborative project of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and seven arts agencies, each of which hosts a regional contest. The Chicago Poetry Center is grateful for the support of the Illinois Arts Council Agency and for the opportunity to partner as regional hosts for Chicagoland.

This February, teens from Chicago area city and suburban schools competed in the Chicagoland regionals for a spot at the statewide Poetry Out Loud poetry recitation competition and a chance to advance to the national competition in Washington DC in May to win $20,000!

Despite the previous few years of being held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicagoland Regionals were finally back in-person at the Poetry Foundation for 2023. Students performed their recitations that were judged by our brilliant panel. The 1st and 2nd place City and Suburban winners will progress to the Illinois state competition level in Springfield on March 13th.


Judges Panel for the 2023 Chicagoland Regionals were:

          Chicagoland Regional Poetry Out Loud Coordinator: Joy Young, poet, teaching artist


  Recitation Judges:

Nicole Bond: poet, educator

Helene Achanzar: poet, CPC Director of Programs

Leslie Reese: poet, teaching artist

Tim Rey: poet, educator


Scorekeeper:   Fullamusu Bangura, poet, teaching artist

Accuracy Judge:   Teresa Dzieglewicz, poet, educator

Prompter:   Ayme Frye, musician, songwriter

M.C./ Speaker:   Jennifer Karmin, writer, performer

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.

Big congrats to all the students who participated in the competition. We wish good luck to our City and Suburban 1st and 2nd place winners as they prepare for the State Competition. Many thanks to the CPC poets and community that supported this effort. The Chicago Poetry Center thanks the Illinois Arts Council Agency for its partnership and support of this project. For more information about the competition please click the link Poetry Out Loud


City Regional Participants & Winners

Adeleah Reynoso  (1st Place)   Taft High School

Vanali Desai     (2nd Place)    Stephen T. Mather High School

Sage Kenny    (3rd Place/Alternate) Von Steuben High School

Gabrielle Inan-Lynch   The Chicago High School For Agricultural Sciences

J’Nya Fairley                 Gary Comer Prep

Metro/Suburban Regional Participants & Winners:

Sidney Bester   (1st Place)   Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Yohanna Endashaw   (2nd Place)  Niles West High School

Julia Bolash    (3rd Place Alternate) Rolling Meadows High School

Nina Malhotra         Niles North High School

Frank Tagoe          John Hersey High School

Rachael Over         Deerfield High School

Magdalena Lacka   East Leyden High School

Tom Rudolph          Northridge Preparatory School

Reet Gohar             Wheaton Warrenville South H.S.

Peter Greco            Maine West High School


*Photos by Sophia Guadalupe Padgett Perez

             This program is made possible with support by the Illinois Arts Council Agency 



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.