Arkansas Arts Council announces winners of poetry recitation contest

The top five placing student stand together after the 2019 Poetry Out Loud State Finals on March 16. (Back row, left to right: Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council; Daevion Jones, first place; McKinnli Jackson, honorable mention; Jonah Windel, honorable mention; Chris James, Poetry Out Loud host; (front row, left to right) Lia Lawson, honorable mention; and Lily Phillips, first runner-up.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to announce the winners of the 14th annual Poetry Out Loud State Finals recitation competition.

Daevion Jones, a senior representing Malvern High School, earned first place during the competition held Saturday, March 16, at the Argenta Community Theater. Lily Phillips, a junior with HEART Homeschool Group in Junction City, earned the runner-up spot.

Honorable mentions were: McKinnli Jackson, 12th grade, Pine Bluff High School; Jonah Windel, 10th grade, Deer High School; and Lia Lawson, 9th grade, Wonderview High School.

Daevion will represent Arkansas in the national-level Poetry Out Loud competition April 30 and May 1 for a chance to win $20,000. The state and national competitions take months of practice.

Arkansas high schools held competitions this fall to decide which students would compete at the state level. An independent panel of judges picked Daevion as the winner among 16 competitors during the state competition.

Poetry Out Loud is made possible through the Arkansas Arts Council and partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Teachers and school administrators can get a form to enter their schools into next year’s competition by contacting Kim Davis, arts in education program manager at the Arkansas Arts Council, at 501-324-9769 or

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