Poetry Out Loud 2024 Chicagoland Regional Winners!

The Chicago Poetry Center is now in its 7th 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 the Chicagoland Regionals were held at the Poetry Foundation. Teens from Chicago area city and suburban schools competed for a spot at the state competition and the opportunity to advance to the national competition in Washington DC in May to win $20,000! Students’ recitation performances were judged by our wonderful panel. The 1st and 2nd place City and Suburban winners will progress to the Illinois state competition level in Springfield on March 11th. In case either the 1st or 2nd place winner is unable to attend, the 3rd place winner will go to the state competition in their place.

Judges Panel for the 2024 Chicagoland Regionals were:

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

  Recitation Judges:

Nicole Bond: poet, educator

Leslie Reese: poet, teaching artist

Tor Warren: poet, teaching artist

Scorekeeper:   Fullamusu Bangura, poet, teaching artist

Accuracy Judge:  Ola Faleti, poet, teaching artist

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.

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

Ainsley Williams (1st Place) University of Chicago Lab Schools

Jesus Chavarria  (2nd Place) Stephen T. Mather High School

Gabriel Sakoda    (3rd Place/Alternate) Von Steuben High School

Bobbie Bell   Gary Comer College Prep

Patrick Cunningham     Taft High School

Ciel Quintanilla Intrinsic Schools-Belmont Campus

Metro/Suburban Regional Participants & Winners

Yohanna Endashaw (1st Place)  Niles West High School

Lila Peck   (2rd Place) Deerfield High School

Tiya Shah (3rd Place)  John Hersey High School

Bianca Joaquin Niles North High School

Lena Trinh   East Leyden High School

John Kipp   Northridge Preparatory School

Daniel Bullen Wheaton Warrenville South H.S.

Richard Pitts Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Kielani Flores Rolling Meadows High School

*Photos of competition Photographed by Glenn Willoughby

            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.