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“The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.”

“Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.”

West Virginia Poetry Out Loud Timeline

December 17, 2015      Logan High School’s Poetry Out Loud Competition

January 20, 2016        Last day to register school champion with WV Arts in Education

March 4-5, 2016         State Finals held at the Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia

May 2-4, 2016             State Champion competes in National Finals in Washington, DC


Poetry Out Loud Commercial:  Get Involved In Poetry Out Loud

National Poetry Out Loud Website

West Virginia Cultural Center Poetry Out Loud Website



Poem Eligibility

  • Poems are selected from the Poetry Out Anthology (updated every summer)
  • Students select 3 poems: one 25 lines or shorter; one written before the 20th century; same poem may meet both criteria

Find Eligible Poems Here:  Poems and Poets


For the Contestants & Judges

Link to Rules and Eligibility

Poetry Out Loud Anthology of Eligible Competition Poems

Advice for Judges

Webinar for Judges – How to Judge for Poetry Out Loud

2016 Poetry Out Loud Evaluation Criteria Tips

2016 Judges Rubric Contest Evaluation Sheet

2016 Judges Accuracy Score Sheet

Prompter Instructions

2016 Judges Scoring Rubric Explained



…the following are links to performances by past contestants and winners…

The 2015 National Poetry Out Loud Champion: Maeva Ordaz

2015 National Poetry Out Loud Videos

2104 National Poetry Out Loud Winner:  Anita Norman

2014 New Jersey Poetry Out Loud State Champion: Natasha Vargas

2011 National Winner:  Youssef Biaz from Auburn, Alabama

2012 California State Champion:  Joshua Kelly

2009 North Carolina State Champion:  Nadia Nasir

2010 Mississippi State Champion:  John Uzodinma


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