University High School of Indiana Student Wins State Poetry Contest

The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) recently announced that Elise Lockwood, a senior at University High School of Indiana in Carmel, was named the state champion at the fifth annual Indiana Poetry Out Loud competition held Saturday at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's Clowes Auditorium.

Miss Lockwood's 3rd round recitation of Billy Collins' "Litany" won her a $200 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Indiana during the National Poetry Out Loud finals April 25-28. Lockwood will compete among 53 high school students from every state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Students taking part in the national competition will have a chance to win a $20,000 scholarship prize. Lockwood also secured a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for University High School of Indiana's library.

"We were delighted to have statewide participation, including students from Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Floyds Knobs, Plymouth, South Bend, Warsaw and Whitestown," said Lewis C. Ricci, IAC executive director. "We wish Elise all the best as she prepares to compete in the national competition next month."

Lockwood is a seasoned Poetry Out Loud participant, having placed third in the 2009 state competition. This year's second place was awarded to Colleen Friedly, a senior at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis. Miss Friedly was awarded a $100 cash prize and a $200 stipend for her school's library. Jenaya Hooks from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis was awarded third place.

Judges of the state competition included Joyce Brinkman, former Indiana Poet Laureate, Indianapolis; Christopher Citro, host of "The Poet's Weave" on WFIU, Bloomington; SIAM (Shaikh Ibrahim Al-Jahizz M'Backe), a poet from Bloomington; MomJara, a literary and performing artist from Indianapolis; and Emily Hankley Berger, Annual Fund Coordinator, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, Indianapolis. Campbell Ricci, a student musician from Brown County High School, provided entertainment between rounds.

The Indiana Arts Commission coordinated the state poetry recitation contest through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Poetry Foundation as part of the federal agency's national Poetry Out Loud program. The project is designed to encourage youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and internalize an appreciation for American literary heritage.

Indiana high schools interested in participating in the 2011 Indiana Poetry Out Loud competition are encouraged to contact Indiana Arts Commission's Arts Education Coordinator Susan Britsch at (317) 232-1281 or