2015 Poetry Out Loud National Finals


A group photo of 53 high school students on stage.

At the 2015 National Finals, 53 champions of contests in every state, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC, competed for the title of National Champion.


A close-up of a young man in a grey suit reciting a poem onstage.

2015 South Carolina State Champion Joshua Mugabe recites ''Song of Myself: 35'' by Walt Whitman during the semifinals.


Onstage, five high school students look nervous as they wait for the judges' decision.

Who will advance to the Finals round? Competitors from the West Coast semifinal round await the decision.


Flanked by marble columns, a group of high school students waves from a balcony in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

All the 2015 competitors enjoyed a Congressional breakfast at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill.


A congresswoman speaks at a podium with a "Poetry Out Loud" poster.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY) spoke at the 2015 Poetry Out Loud Congressional Breakfast.


A middle-aged man shakes hands with a young woman in an office.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon greets 2015 Oregon State Champion Gypsy Prince at a visit to his office after the Congressional breakfast.


A posed shot of an older man, a teenaged girl, and a woman, all smiling.

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran receives a visit from Poetry Out Loud State Champion Joy Cariño and NEA Chairman Jane Chu after the Congressional breakfast.


A young woman in a bright yellow sweater recites a poem onstage.

Alaska Champion Maeva Ordaz recites ''Zacuanpapalotls'' by Brenda Cardenas, the poem that put her over the top to win the title National Champion.


A young man with long, curly hair sings and plays guitar onstage.

The National Finals featured a performance by composer and multi-instrumentalist, Gabriel Kahane.


Three happy teenagers onstage wearing medals and holding awards.

Meet the top three winners of Poetry Out Loud 2015! From L-R: third-place winner Casey Ryan Goggin (NC), National Champion Maeva Ordaz (AK) and second-place winner Paris J. Stroud (GA).


Five men and women, smiling onstage.

The National Finals judges from L-R: poet Nikky Finney, educator Carol Jago, novelist Brando Skyhorse, writer and critic Maria Popova, and poet Richard Blanco.


A man and woman flank a teenaged girl holding an award over her head in celebration.

Poetry Foundation President Robert Polito, 2015 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Maeva Ordaz, and NEA Chairman Jane Chu celebrate the culmination of Poetry Out Loud 2015.