Poetry Out Loud 2019 National Finals in Washington, DC, April 30-May 1, 2019

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WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 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 to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in the 2019 National Semifinals of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. The competition takes place at Lisner Auditorium at the George Washington University. Nine finalists will proceed to the finals on Wednesday, May 1, 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. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and is administered together with the state arts agencies in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More information about the national finals is available here. WHO: Poetry Out Loud National Finals on May 1 – Host, Elizabeth Acevedo, poet, author, and 2018 National Book Award recipient. Guest judges include poets Jericho Brown, Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Mary Rand Hess, and Hieu Minh Nguyen, and theater director Randy Reinholz. The National Finals will also include a performance by Kansas City-based mother/son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. WHEN/WHERE: Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals – Tuesday, April 30, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm ET, Lisner Auditorium, the George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. Media interviews offered after each semifinal.
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm - First Semifinal
(in order: DE, OH, SC, VA, NJ, RI, DC, VT, PA, MD, NY, NC, MA, ME, NH, CT, WV, USVI)
  • 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm - Second Semifinal
(in order: FL, WI, PR, LA, TN, MI, IA, KY, NE, GA, MS, MO, IL, OK, AR, IN, AL, KS)
  • 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm - Third Semifinal
(in order: UT, AZ, MT, AK, WA, ND, TX, HI, NM, CO, MN, ID, WY, NV, SD, OR, CA) Poetry Out Loud National Finals – Wednesday, May 1, 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm ET, Lisner Auditorium, the George Washington University, 730 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. Pre-event interviews with the nine national finalists are at 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. WEBCAST: Watch the semifinals and finals through a closed captioned, one-time-only webcast at arts.gov. PHOTOS/VIDEO: Photos and video of the semifinals and finals will be available for media use the morning after each event. FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud, @NEAarts, and @PoetryFound, #POL19. CONTACT: Media must RSVP to Elizabeth Auclair, NEA Public Affairs, 202-682-5744 or auclaire@arts.gov. Video crews covering the May 1 National Finals must arrive by 6:45 pm to reserve a space. No flash photography.


Liz Auclair (NEA), auclaire@arts.gov, 202-682-5744 Sarah Whitcher (Poetry Foundation), swhitcher@poetryfoundation.org 312-799-8016