News

Poetry Out Loud 2015 National Finals

Washington, DC, April 28-29, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC –On Tuesday, April 28, 53 high school students who advanced from poetry recitation competitions in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather at Lisner Auditorium to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in the 2015 National Semifinals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Nine finalists will proceed to the National Finals on Wednesday, April 29, where they will vie for the title of National Poetry Out Loud Champion and a $20,000 award. The top finalists and their schools will receive $50,000 in awards. The Semifinals and Finals will be webcast live with viewing parties around the country. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation and is administered together with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

WHO: Poetry Out Loud National Finals on April 29: Host Taylor Mali, award-winning stage and page poet. National Finals guest judges include poets Richard Blanco and Nikky Finney, writer and critic Maria Popova, novelist Brando Skyhorse, and educator Carol Jago. The featured performer is composer and multi-instrumentalist, Gabriel Kahane.

WHEN/WHERE:  Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals – Tuesday, April 28, 9:00 am 8:00 pm ET, Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC.  Media interviews offered after each round.

  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm - First Semifinal: students from East Central and Northeast States

    (In order: NY, RI, DE, CT, NH, ME, MA, PA, DC, SC, MD, NC, NJ, VT, WV, OH, USVI, VA)

  • 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm - Second Semifinal: students from Midwest and South Central states

    (In order: NE, AR, WI, MS, IN, PR, KY, GA, LA, TN, MO, MI, OK, IL, FL, AL, KS, IA)

  • 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm - Third Semifinal: students from Upper Northwest and Western states

    (In order: MN, CO, NM, MT, WA, NV, WY, ND, CA, UT, ID, OR, AK, TX, SD, HI, AZ)

Congressional breakfast for 53 Poetry Out Loud championsWednesday, April 29, 9:00 am – 10:30 am ET.  Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, 27 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC. The breakfast for all 53 champions will feature visits by Members of Congress. This event is not open to the public.

Poetry Out Loud National Finals – Wednesday, April 29, 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm ET, Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. Pre-event interviews with the nine National Finalists take place from 6:00 – 6:30 pm. Post-event photos and interviews with Finalists, judges, and speakers take place onstage, 9:15 – 9:45 pm.

OTHER:  The Poetry Out Loud Semifinals and National Finals are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Both events will offer ASL interpretation. For more information call 202-682-5606 or visit arts.gov.

WEBCAST: Watch the Semifinals and Finals through a closed captioned, one-time-only webcast at arts.gov.

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Photos and video of #POL15 Semifinals and Finals will be available at this link.

FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL15. 

CONTACT: Media must RSVP to Sally Gifford, NEA Public Affairs, 202-682-5606 or giffords@arts.gov. Video crews covering the Wednesday night National Finals must arrive by 6:45 pm to reserve a space. No flash photography.

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Contact

NEA Contact: Sally Gifford, 202-682-5606

Poetry Foundation Contact: Elizabeth Burke-Dain, 773-368-4928