New Mexico Arts

New Mexico state champion will take part in national semifinal round of Poetry Out Loud contest

April 12, 2022


New Mexico state champion will take part in the national semifinal round of  

Poetry Out Loud competition  

Santa Fe, New Mexico - Analisa Ibarra, a senior at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque will represent New Mexico in the national semifinal round of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in May. This was her third trip to the state finals and her first time as state champion. If Ms. Ibarra wins at the virtual semifinal level next month, she will advance to the final competition on June 5, held virtually from Washington, DC. 

Poetry Out Loud has broadened my horizons and given me confidence over the three years I have competed,” said Ms. Ibarra. “Poetry can connect so intricately to life, and that is why I love watching my fellow performers, discovering new poems and writing my own. Just the other night my mother pointed out that one of my poems connects to the war in Ukraine. I am so astounded that I get to compete nationally with all the other state champions - it has been a dream for so long!” 

Ibarra noted that her win has proven that she can communicate her passion. “Poems are what they make you feel, and how you spiritualize that so the audience can understand,” she said. “Going into college I will have more confidence to pursue my dreams of becoming an OBGYN, (200 dollars to help buy books), and I’ll have better communication skills. I am also really looking forward to poetry slams in college.” 

Poetry Out Loud features high school student readings of selected poetry judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, evidence of understanding, and accuracy. Student recitations were video submission-based and were judged by recognized poets and educators. This year’s judges were Jessica Helen Lopez, Lauren Camp, Manuel Gonzales, and Mercedez Holtry. 

Ms. Ibarra was named the 17th Annual New Mexico Poetry Out Loud State Champion, sponsored by New Mexico Arts, the state arts agency that is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Poetry Foundation, and state arts agencies across the country.   

“Congratulations to our state champion, Analisa, and to all the students who participated in this year’s competition,” said New Mexico Arts Executive Director Michelle Laflamme-Childs. “I look forward to Poetry Out Loud every year as it is a reminder of the resilience, commitment, and passion of our New Mexico high school students. Everything from the poems they choose to memorize and recite, to the poise and presence they exude on the stage. These last two years have been virtual and as a result, we have not had the chance to witness the students compete live, but the preparation and dedication required of them is no less significant. I look forward to the 2023 event when we can celebrate our young people together again.” 

For her win, Ibarra receives $200, plus $500 for the school library for the purchase of poetry books, and the honor of representing New Mexico at the virtual national semifinal competition. The National Champion receives $20,000 in prizes, with the second-place winner taking home $10,000, and the third-place winner, $5,000. 

Other state finalists who participated in the virtual event included: first runner-up Kenna Flores, Public Academy for the Performing Arts, Albuquerque; second runner-up, Ester Heerema, Arrowhead Park Early College High School, Las Cruces; and third runner up, Lauren To, Arrowhead Park Medical Academy, Las Cruces. 

“In a tough year for both teachers and students alike, I want to congratulate this year’s student participants and their teachers. New Mexico Arts is looking forward to bringing back the in-person state finals next year,” said New Mexico Poetry Out Loud Coordinator Kevin Lenkner. “See you in Santa Fe in 2023!”   

Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through exploration, memorization, and performance. The purpose of this program is to promote poetry in both the classroom and the community. For more information, contact Kevin Lenkner, New Mexico Arts, at (505) 412-5791 or (800) 879-4278 (statewide), or email, or visit Poetry Out Loud  

About New Mexico Arts 

New Mexico Arts is the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico.  

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. 

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.  It has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the best poetry before the largest possible audience.


Related Photos

Analisa Ibarra, by Lauren Cherie Photography
Analisa Ibarra, by Lauren Cherie Photography

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