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May 11, 2009

Illinois Arts Council Announces 2009 Poetry Out Loud 3rd Place Winner Kareem Sayegh
Urbana’s Uni High Student Wins $5,000 in National Poetry Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Illinois Arts Council is pleased to announce that Illinois’ 2009 Poetry Out Loud State Champion Kareem Sayegh has received the third place prize and a $5,000 award at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. Sayegh, of University Laboratory High School in Urbana, was among fifty-three state champions from around the country who participated in the fourth national poetry recitation contest. Sayegh’s achievement also garnered University Laboratory High School a $500 stipend for use toward poetry books.

Held April 28th at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C., the event was the culmination of a pyramid-structure competition that began last September among schools across the country. Sayegh recited from memory the poems “A Supermarket in California” by Allan Ginsberg, “The Man-Moth” by Elizabeth Bishop, and “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

“We are all very proud of Kareem’s achievement,” says Shirley R. Madigan, Illinois Arts Council Chairman. “Not only does Poetry Out Loud engage students with great poetry, this program provides a tremendous learning opportunity and promotes a culture of possibility for all who participate.”

Through Poetry Out Loud, sponsored by the National Arts Endowment and the Poetry Foundation, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. For the fourth year in 2008-2009, the Illinois Arts Council partnered with seven arts organizations throughout the state to implement the program.

To find out how to get involved in the 2010 Poetry Out Loud program, visit www.poetryoutloud.org or contact Susan Dickson at the Illinois Arts Council by phone at 312/814-6740 or email susan.dickson@illinois.gov .


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