Poetry Out Loud State Champion Announced
Wyoming’s Annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) State Competition occurred on Monday, March 6 in the Laramie County Community College Surbrugg/Prentice Auditorium.
High school students from across the state competed for a $200 prize, a $500 stipend for their school to purchase poetry books, and a place in the national competition.
Elora Umbach became Wyoming’s 2023 State Champion. Umbach is a senior at the Penn Foster High School program in Casper, and she will go on to represent Wyoming in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in May. State Runner-up was: Briley Farris of Buffalo High School and Third Place: Josephine Haberkorn of Cheyenne East High School.
Judging criteria included physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. Judges included Casper College Instructor and Award-Winning Poet Chad Hanson, Wyoming poet Matt Daly, slam poet and the Lander Literary Rug coordinator Annelise Wright, and Fine & Performing Arts Consultant for the Wyoming Department of Education Lori Pusateri-Lane.
This year, the POL state competition included an additional competition called Poetry Ourselves for students to recite their original work. The competition occurred on March 5, 2023 at the Hawthorn Tree in Cheyenne, WY.
First place was awarded to Elora Umbach from the Penn Foster High School program. Runner-up was Ireeann Anderson of Lovell High School, and Third Place was Kearza Martinez of Moorcroft High School.
POL is a program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. Developed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, POL is a free contest for high-school students (grades 9-12) in both public and private schools. It serves every state and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
The Wyoming Arts Council is proud to support and administer this program in the Cowboy State. Participating schools included Lovell High School, Cheyenne East High School, Penn Foster High School program, Buffalo High School, and Moorcroft High School.
Photo caption: 2023 POL Winner Elora Umbach with Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and Wyoming Arts Council Executive Director Michael Lange