Wisconsin Poetry News

Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Competing in a very strong field of eight contestants from across the state, Anna Wolfs, a sophomore at Arrowhead High School (Hartland), won the 2011-2012 Poetry Out Loud State contest on Saturday, March 24 in Madison. The poems she recited from memory were:  “The Death of Allegory,” by Billy Collins; “Lions” by Sandra McPherson; and “Hap” by Thomas Hardy. The runner-up was Rosalyn Gravrok, Holy Family Home School in Eau Claire.  The first place winner will receive a $200 scholarship and her school, $500. She will represent Wisconsin at the National Finals in Washington, DC on May 13-15 where she is eligible to win up to $25, 000 in scholarships. She is the daughter of Alicia and Hendrik Wolfs of Hartland. 

The runner-up will received $100 and her school $200 for poetry books.  Other state finalists who had won their regional contests were Annetta Martin, Milwaukee School of the Arts;  Lydia Wildes, Veritas Academy, Eau Claire; Isabel Karp and Lily Veldran, James Madison Memorial HS; Esther O'Brien, Rhinelander HS; Natalie Steiner, Wrightstown HS. 

Jacki Martindale is the program's state coordinator for the Wisconsin Arts Board. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation are the founders and national supporters for the contest.  All Wisconsin high schools are eligible to participate.  For more information, contact Martindale at jmpmartindale@gmail.com.

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

The Wisconsin Arts Board is the state agency that nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage. Since 1973, the Arts Board has supported artists and arts organizations with funds from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on the Wisconsin Arts Board, please visit http://artsboard.wisconsin.gov

Council for Wisconsin Writers 2011 Awards

Eight winners of the Wisconsin Writers Awards for work published in 2011 were announced in March by the Council for Wisconsin Writers. Each will receive $500 and a week-long writer’s residency at Shake Rag Alley or Maplewood Lodge in Mineral Point. Awards were decided by out-of-state judges and will be presented at a May 12 Awards Luncheon at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. The public is cordially invited to attend and celebrate Wisconsin's fine writers.

Poet Karl Elder of Lakeland College is recipient of the $500 Christopher Latham Sholes Award for outstanding encouragement of Wisconsin writers through his long history of mentoring and showcasing their work, especially in co-ordinating the Great Lake Writers Festival since 1991.

Winners for poetry are Adam Fell of Madison for his book I Am Not a Pioneer; Verse Wisconsin co-editor Sarah Busse of Madison received the Lorine Niedecker Award for five poems. Honorable mentions were also named in each category and will receive $50 each. They are Robin Chapman of Madison for her poetry book the eelgrass meadow; and Susan Elbe of Madison, for the Niedecker Award for five poems. Wendy Vardaman of Madison, also received an honorable mention for her short nonfiction “The Essay that I Begin Writing While Walking to the Wisconsin Capitol Trying to Discern the Right Question, 2/24/11,” published in Verse Wisconsin's special Main Street issue of poems about the Wisconsin protests.

More about the winners, names of the out-of-state judges and information for reserving a place at the May 12 Awards luncheon is at the Council for Wisconsin Writers website at www.wiswriters.org. CWW is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 to promote awareness of Wisconsin’s literary heritage.