Poetry Out Loud

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 to high schools across the country. Schools that choose to participate in Poetry Out Loud start the program in the classroom, where participating teachers may use the Poetry Out Loud toolkit to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions. Students select, memorize, and recite poems from an anthology of more than 1,000 classic and contemporary poems. Beginning at the classroom level, winners will advance to the school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, DC. Since the program began in 2005, more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud. To participate in Poetry Out Loud, high school teachers and other educators of high-school-age students must contact the state arts agency Poetry Out Loud coordinator in their state. Visit poetryoutloud.org for a list of contacts and more information about the program.

2019 Poetry Out Loud National Finals

On April 30-May 1, 2019, students from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands came to Washington, DC to compete in the 2019 Poetry Out Loud national finals. Isabella Callery, a senior at Arcadia Charter School in Minnesota won the title of 2019 Poetry Out Loud National Champion and a $20,000 prize. The second-place winner was Scottlynn Ernestine Ballard, a junior at Edwardsville High School in Illinois, who received a $10,000 prize. The third-place winner was Alejandro J. Campo, a junior at Flowery Branch High School in Georgia, who received a $5,000 prize. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for Poetry Out Loud.

In addition, the winners of the Poetry Ourselves competition were also announced, with Connecticut State Champion Evan Reynolds placing first in the written category with his original poem “Ode to Rhubarb,” and Wisconsin State Champion Daeja Loew placing first in the spoken category with her original poem “A Circle of Motherhood.” The runners up were Hawaii State Champion Maggie Odom with her poem “kiss through osmosis” (written) and North Carolina State Champion Lillian Everett Hawkins with her poem “Sisters” (spoken category).

Read more about the 2019 Poetry Out Loud National Finals at the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works blog.