Congratulations to New York's 2018 Poetry Out Loud Champion!

Congratulations to our 2018 New York State Poetry Out Loud Champion, Eseme Segbefia!

Brooklyn Latin School senior Eseme Segbefia won the state competition for poetry recitation, held at the Everson Museum in Syracuse on March 9.

The competition encourages students to learn about great poetry through recitation and helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with state arts agencies across the country, including NYSCA. NYSCA proudly supports the New York State competition in partnership with Teachers & Writers Collaborative and the State University of New York.

Segbefia, who has taken part in the POL competition since she was a freshman, competed in the regional event held at FIT in Manhattan. Her winning poetry selections included “Snake Oil, Snake Bite” by Dilruba Ahmed, “Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation” by Natalie Diaz, and “[Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning]” by Emily Brontë. She will advance to the national competition, which will be held in Washington, DC, April 23-25, 2018.

Padraig Bond, a junior at Saratoga Springs High School, was runner-up. Bond, who competed at the Hudson Valley Community College regional in Troy, recited these poems at the final competition: “Israfel” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Gaffe” by C.K. Williams, and “After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost.

Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, DC, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.