Teenagers from every state on state for a poetry recitation contest.

Poetry Out Loud

A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud. Visit poetryoutloud.org for more information. If you are interested in participating in the official program, please contact your state arts agency.

2021 Poetry Out Loud National Finals

This May, 55 finalists—one from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa—will advance to compete in the Poetry Out Loud national finals, which will be available through a one-time-only webcast on this page.

Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals: Sunday, May 2, 2021 beginning at 12pm ET

Recitations from all 55 students will be broadcast through three regional semifinals, and will include the announcement of the top nine students (three from each region) who will advance in the competition. 

Beginning at 12pm ET: Semifinal, Region 1—East Central and Northeast
MD, NJ, NC, ME, NH, WV, CT, MA, DE, USVI, VA, VT, OH, DC, SC, PA, RI, NY

Beginning at 3pm ET: Semifinal, Region 2—Midwest and South Central
MI, TN, OK, LA, PR, FL, IN, AL, GA, MS, WI, KY, NE, IL, AR, KS, IA, MO

Beginning at 6pm ET: Semifinal, Region 3—Upper Northwest and West
ID, NV, SD, AK, WA, MN, AS, CA, UT, AZ, MT, OR, GU, CO, ND, WY, HI, TX, NM

Poetry Out Loud National Finals: Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 pm ET

Hosted by actor and writer Shaun Taylor-Corbett, the national finals broadcast will feature pre-recorded recitations, live interviews with the top nine finalists, and the live announcement of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. 

More information can be found in our press release.

Watch recitations from our 2020 Poetry Out Loud student champions.

New Study on Impact of Poetry Out Loud

Line by Line: Transforming Student Lives and Learning with the Art of Poetry presents findings from an evaluation of Poetry Out Loud that involves data collection from ten sample schools assessing the program’s impact on  poetry appreciation and engagement, social and emotional development, and academic performance. A fact sheet summarizing the results is also available