IAC Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2012

Contact: Jeff Morgan
Public Relations

Iowa students compete March 3 for state poetry championship

State champion advances to National Finals in Washington, D.C.

(DES MOINES, Iowa) —Seventeen Iowa students will compete next week for a state championship and a trip to the 2012 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded.

The Iowa Poetry Out Loud State Finals will be at 1 p.m., March 3, 2012, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Admission is free, and the contest will include poetry recitations by each student competitor.

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. Each state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books, and the first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation created Poetry Out Loud as a pilot project in 2005. The program, presented in Iowa by the Iowa Arts Council, has expanded to include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Students participate at classroom, school and state levels for the right to compete for the national championship. More than 1,500 Iowa students competed at classroom and school levels this year, and more than 365,000 students across the country competed in the program last year.

The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. It also fosters the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry – recitation and performance. Students are judged on accuracy, physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

For the second consecutive year, an Iowa student using American Sign Language will compete in the Poetry Out Loud state championship. Gabrielle Humlicek from the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs will recite Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, Her Kind by Anne Sexton and History Lesson by Natasha Trethewey.

Iowa’s past state champions are Grace Rants of Sioux City East in 2011, John-Emmett Mahon of Sioux City’s PeaceMakers Academy in 2010, Mia Pierson of Roland-Story in 2009, Emily Mortvedt of Roland-Story in 2008, Spencer Gilbert of West Des Moines Valley in 2007 and Ashley Baccam of Des Moines East in 2006.

This year’s list of student competitors follows:


Kirsten Marie Wedewer
Ankeny High School
Four Glimpses of Night by Frank Marshall Davis
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Entirely by Louis MacNeice
Kelcy Lofgren
Brenda Colby

Sean Butorac
Wayne High School
The Tyger by William Blake
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
I Am by John Clare
Chad Wilson
Chad Hissong

Council Bluffs
Gabrielle Humlicek
Iowa School for the Deaf
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
Her Kind by Anne Sexton
History Lesson by Natasha Trethewey
Susan Trucano
Rebecca Gaw

Angela Brown
Denison High School
I Am by John Clare
The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Laurel Olsen
Lynn Torr

Des Moines
Susan Stacy
Central Academy
Fortuna by Thomas Carlyle
a song in the front yard by Gwendolyn Brooks
The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth
Denis Hildreth
Crista Carlile

Des Moines
Mikolina Lowe
North High School
Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings
The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Snowy Owl Near Ocean Shores by Duane Niatum
Mark Rixner
Matt Smith

Heidi Stofer
Central High School
Queen-Anne's Lace by William Carlos Williams
The Obligation to be Happy by Linda Pastan
Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
Liz Dague
George Pickup

Anthony Hunt
Spalding Catholic High School
Planetarium by Adrienne Rich
Follow Thy Fair Sun by Thomas Campion
Chicago by Carl Sandburg
Judy Stokesberry
Gary Niichel

Sanjay Koduvalli
Johnston High School
The Death of Allegory by Billy Collins
The World Is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens
Sue Cline
Brent Riessen

Gwen Morrison
Marshalltown High School
Insomnia by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Blackstone Rangers by Gwendolyn Brooks
Preludes by T.S. Elliot
Susan Fritzell
Bonnie Lowry

Mason City
Claire Pennington
Mason City High School
I wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth
La Figlia che Piange by T. S. Eliot
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] by ee cummings
Mary Alexander
TJ Jumper

John Rhys Sutija
Pella High School
She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron (George Gordon)
A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky by Lewis Carroll
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Suzanne Sheldon Jones
Eric Nelson

Sioux City
Ashley Linn
Siouxland Community Christian School
The World Is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth.
Harlem by Langston Hughes
“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
Debbie Wilson
Superintendent: Steve Peters

Story City
Rebekah Titus
Roland-Story High School
The Bearer by Hayden Carruth
The World is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth
Ego by Denise Duhamel
Denise Biechler
Steve Schlatter

Amanda Husak
South Tama County High School
Abandoned Farm House by Ted Kooser
Safe in their alabaster chambers by Emily Dickinson
Let It Be Forgotten by Sara Teasdale
Nancy Dostal
Eric Townsley

Katie Riese
Waukon High School
The Death of Allegory by Billy Collins
Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Harp Song of the Dane Women by Rudyard Kipling
Bev Berns
Matt Breitback

West Des Moines
Chloe Goodman
Valley High School
The Tyger by William Blake
“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
Shall earth no more inspire thee by Emily Jane Bronte
Karen Downing 
Jim Mollison




The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.