Created by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the Montana Arts Council, this program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a schoolwide competition, then to a regional competition, then the state finals, and ultimately to the National Finals.
One winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. (with parent or chaperone) to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. A runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded for the winners at the National Finals.
1. Program takes place in classrooms and/or schools: October through December
2. Schoolwide Contests held: mid-to-late January
3. Regional Contests: February 1-15
4. State Finals Competition in Helena: 1st Saturday in March
Anna Hedinger, third place | Sophie Barth, first place
Victoria Shelton, second place
Sophie Barth, first place
Eligibility and Legal Participation Requirements
Poetry Out Loud is for high-school students (grades 9-12) at both public and private schools. Eighth graders enrolled in ninth-grade coursework are eligible to compete, at the discretion of state Poetry Out Loud coordinators. Homeschooled students are eligible to compete if the state coordinator finds an equitable and fair way to include them.
Each state champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete at the National Finals. The state champion’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state will receive $100; his or her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry books.
A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, with a $20,000 award for the National Champion. The second-place winner will receive a $10,000 award; the third-place winner will receive $5,000; and the fourth- to twelfth-place winners will each receive $1,000. The schools of the top 12 finalists will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.
About Poetry Out Loud
Past State Champions
Poetry Out Loud Website