2021 Poetry Ourselves Winners Announced
Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to share the 2021 winners of the Poetry Ourselves competition, a second competition open to the Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions to highlight their original poetry. Each champion had the opportunity to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories—written or spoken—which were judged by award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing.
The 2021 Poetry Ourselves winners are:
- Spoken winner: “Generations” by Azhane Pollard, Virginia
- Written winner: “Wheatgrass” by Brady L. Drummond, Montana
- Spoken runner-up: “Stitch after Stitch” by Lauren Broman, Wisconsin
- Written runner-up: “This is a poem about failure” by Soojin Park, Alabama
“It is truly inspirational to hear the thoughts, experiences, feelings, and ideas of Poetry Out Loud participants in their own voice, their own words, demonstrating that poetry can be both intimate and ubiquitous,” said Amy Stolls, director of Literary Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts. “Congratulations to this year’s Poetry Ourselves winners.”
Student participants of the Poetry Out Loud program memorize and recite works of classic and contemporary poetry. Recognizing that many Poetry Out Loud participants also create their own work, Poetry Ourselves was launched in 2016 as a part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary as a way to encourage student creativity. These winning poems will be highlighted on the NEA’s blog in May.
All 55 Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions will compete in the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals, webcast this Sunday, May 2, 2021 beginning at 12 p.m. at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud. The top nine students will move on to the national finals, which will be webcast on May 27, 2021 and include the announcement of the 2021 national champion, who will receive a grand prize of $20,000. Visit arts.gov for full details.
About 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. Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom/school or at the local level with an area organization. Students memorize and recite poems they select from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. Winners then may advance to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the national finals. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations across the nation have participated in Poetry Out Loud. For more information about Poetry Out Loud and how to participate in the 2021-2022 program, visit poetryoutloud.org.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.
Liz Auclair (NEA), firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-682-5744