2020 Poetry Out Loud - Regional Finals

February 6, 2020

Piqua Arts Council hosted their first Poetry Out Loud ,Thursday, February 6th at Edison State College. Executive Director Jordan Knepper said, “I was very impressed with memory and performance of the participants. They each kept the audience enthralled”

The contestants were judged on reciting 2 poems from memory. Chloe Proffitt, a junior from Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton started the competition with “Pity The Beautiful” by Dana Gioia. Sierra Wade, a senior from Springfield-Clark CTC, recited “There Are Birds Here” by Jamaal May. Next up was Immaculee Ingabire, a senior from Kettering Fairmont High School performing “Self-Help” by Michael Ryan. Finishing out the first round was Zurie Pope, a junior from Piqua High School, with “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

For the second round of the competition Chloe Proffitt performed “Windingo” by Louise Erdrich. Sierra Wade competed with “1969” by Alex Dimitrov. Immaculee Ingabire followed with “A Thank You Note” by Michael Ryan and Zurie Pope finished out the second round with “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. 

The judges all had outstanding credentials. Sierra Leone is an Ohio Governor’s Award winning poet, author, producer of stage plays and CEO. She is the president and artistic director of OFP Theatre Company. After an introduction by emcee, Joe Shaffer, Sierra started the night off with a performance of her own original poetry. 

Judge Karen Maner is not only the grant coordinator for Dayton’s art fund, Culture Works, but she’s also a published author and former Poetry Out Loud regional coordinator. Karen has been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Colorado Review, The Rumpus, and Sonora Review. She is a recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award and her essay “Hugo” was also included on the Notable Essays list in Best American Essays 2014. She did a reading of her own work after the first round.

Judge Alyssa Hanson is a singer-songwriter and former Miss Ohio. Alyssa has worked for Disney, toured the country as the lead singer of Red in the Water and played with the Nashville based band The Blackbirds. Following intermission, Alyssa shared  the inspiration and meaning behind one of her original songs, “Texts to My Dad”. She then shared a recording of the song and sang a portion of it as well.

The judges chose Zurie Pope as the winner of the Western Ohio Regional Competition. He will go on to compete at the state level and if he wins there will get an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. and a chance to win $20,000.

The night ended with a presentation of gift bags filled with goodies for the students by sponsors, Winans Chocolates and Coffee, Mainstreet Piqua, This & That Candy on Main, Readmore’s Hallmark, Scott’s Family McDonalds, Jay & Mary’s Bookstore, Staples, Elite Etc. and Premier Health – Upper Valley Medical Center. The judges were then presented with original works of art by local artists, Sandra Kraack, Evelyn Mahrt and Marsha Elliott. 

Important Information

Poetry Out Loud

West Central Regional Final

Edison State Community College
Robinson Theater

1973 Edison Way

Piqua, OH 45356

Thursday, February 6, 2020



Piqua Arts Council 


Our Sponsors / Partner