4/28/2022 1:06:00 PM

Alabama’s Poetry Out Loud State Champion to Compete in National Semifinals

Alabama’s Poetry Out Loud State Champion
Abigail Kulkarni will compete in national semifinals on Sunday, May 1

MONTGOMERY, Ala., (April 28, 2022) — Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Arts Alliance announce that Abigail Kulkarni, a student at James Clemens High School, is the 2022 Alabama Poetry Out Loud™ champion.

Thousands of high school educators integrate Poetry Out Loud into their curriculum every year. The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

In February, Alabama State Council on the Arts and Alabama Arts Alliance hosted a virtual ceremony celebrating students from high schools all over the state who placed regionally in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition, Alabama’s Original Poetry Competition, and the Original Social Issues Poem Competition.

Guest judges included Dr. Jacqueline Trimble, Richard Trammell, and Randy Foster. Anne Kimzey served as accuracy judge. Additionally, Davis Thompson of Auburn High School was recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Alabama Poetry Out Loud “Teacher of the Year” award.

“Poetry Out Loud is a wonderful example of a partnership between federal, state, and local arts organizations that engages students across Alabama,” said Dr. Elliot Knight, executive director of Alabama State Council on the Arts. “We are thankful for the support and leadership of the National Endowment for the Arts and are proud of all our Alabama students who made it to the state finals and participated this year.”

National Poetry Out Loud Competition

First place in Alabama’s Poetry Out Loud National Anthology Competition went to Abigail Kulkarni. Abigail is a student at James Clemens High School (Teacher, Elizabeth Miller) and will compete with 54 other state/jurisdictional champions in the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals through a video competition streamed at arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 2 pm CT. From those semifinals, nine students will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, broadcast on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at 6 pm CT.

Kennedy Gore, a student at Bob Jones High School, was first runner-up, and Elizabeth McClure, a student at Alabama School of Fine Arts, was named second runner-up. Honorable mentions were awarded to Audrey Miller (Lakeview Christian School), Samuel Schultz (independent student), and Victoria Wang (Auburn High School).

Alabama Original Poetry Competitions

Alabama is one of the few states that includes an original poetry competition within its state poetry finals. Atticus Hill, a student at Alabama School of Fine Arts (Teacher, Ashley M. Jones), was selected as the original poetry winner. Second place went to Lydia Maple of Lakeview Christian School. An honorable mention in original poetry was awarded to Piper Doyle of Auburn High School.

Also, as part of the original poetry competition, students were encouraged to write and recite an original poem addressing any topic relevant to their life. Lydia Maple, a student at Lakeview Christian School, and Shemai’ya Peak, who competed as an independent student, were both awarded first place. Lucy Gardner of Indian Springs School was awarded second place.

“The participants in this year’s Poetry Out Loud represent the best of Alabama’s students, reflecting on and understanding the work of classic poets and creating their own poetry in response to the contemporary world,” said Dr. Andrew Henley, the Council’s deputy director.

For additional information about this program, please contact Kaci Norman, Arts in Education program manager for Alabama State Council on the Arts, at 334-242-5148 or kaci.norman@arts.alabama.gov; or Donna Russell, executive director of the Alabama Arts Alliance at 334-269-1435 or drussell@alartsalliance.org.


About Alabama State Council on the Arts
The Council on the Arts is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts in Alabama. The Council works to expand and preserve the state’s cultural resources by supporting nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, units of local government, and individual artists. Arts programs, assisted by Council grants, have a track record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism, and overall quality of life in all regions of the state. Alabama State Council on the Arts grants are made possible by an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more at arts.alabama.gov.


About Poetry Out Loud™
A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country.