Colorado’s 2021 Poetry Out Loud Champion Aidyn Reid Heads to Nationals

DENVER -- Some of Aidyn Reid’s earliest memories are of being read poetry by her mother. 

“When I was young, my mom would read me “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein, so I have only fond memories of prose like this,” said Reid. “I definitely find myself attracted to satirical work and even silly poetic work like Seuss.”

This early introduction to spoken word poetry made an impact, as Reid is one of nine high school students advancing to the Poetry Out Loud national finals, which will be webcast on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. ET.  

Reid, a student at Fountain Valley High School in Colorado Springs, believes poetry is a part of life. “I also think that everyone, whether they are engaged and aware of it [or not], is 'interested' in poetry. Poetry is everywhere and even narrative writing is poetic.” 

“Over the last year, so many of us have turned to the arts to find inspiration as a way to get through this pandemic and we’re thrilled to see a young Colorado leader taking her talents to the national level,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are all proud of Aidyn’s accomplishment and will be cheering for her on May 27.”

“Amanda Gorman at the Presidential inauguration showed us all the power of spoken word prose,” said Margaret Hunt, Director of Colorado Creative Industries. “It has the power to inspire us, to move us and to touch us profoundly. We are thrilled that Aidyn has reached the national competition and have no doubt she will represent Colorado arts well.” 

The 2021 Poetry Out Loud national finals will take place virtually with each finalist submitting in advance video recordings of their recitations—selected from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems.
Judges will review and score the recitations based on criteria including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy. A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the National Champion, $10,000 for 2nd place, $5,000 for 3rd place, and $1,000 for 4th–9th places. The representing schools/organizations of each of the top nine finalists receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. 
Colorado’s Poetry Out Loud program is sponsored by Colorado Creative Industries, housed in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Lighthouse Writers Workshop.
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