Poetry Out Loud
ArtsWA joins other state arts agencies in partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation to support Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation competition that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. By participating in the program, students master public speaking skills and build self confidence, while also learning how to connect with and analyze literature in new ways. Each state hosts an annual competition, culminating in a national competition among the state winners.
Join us for this year’s state final on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma.
Regional finals are taking place across the state in early February.
This past year, Langston Ward, Washington's representative at the national Poetry Out Loud competition, took top honors in the U.S. --a first for our state. Read more about his exciting achievement in our press release from May 1, 2013 and in an article published in the Spokesman Review on May 2, 2013.
2013 State Finals
Langston Ward, of Mead High School, in Spokane, won the 2013 state Poetry Out Loud finals with his recitations of The Gift by Li-Young Lee, The Bad Old Days by Kenneth Rexroth, and A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown by Walt Whitman. As the winner of the state final competition, Ward won a $200 prize. In addition, his school received $500 for the purchase of poetry books, and Ward earned an all-expenses-paid trip (with a chaperone) to compete in the National Finals in Washington, DC, on April 29-30, 2013. This was the second state championship for Ward, who represented Washington state in the 2012 national finals. He placed in the top nine students nationally that year. Read more ...
2012 State Finals
The 2012 state champion was Langston Ward, a junior from Mead High School in Spokane. He won the state final with his recitations of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, The Truly Great by Stephen Spender, and Chicago by Carl Sandburg. The runner-up was Sommer Harris, a senior from South Whidbey High School in Langley. Honorable mentions went to Bonnie Blanchard, a senior from West Valley High School in Yakima, Dylan Nehrenberg, a senior from Kent High School in Kent; and Vanessa Serrano, a senior from Camas High School in Camas.
More than 20,000 students from 68 Washington high schools participated in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud program. Twelve students advanced to the state finals, held on Saturday, March 10, at the Rialto Theatre in Tacoma. Through three rounds of poetry recitations they performed works selected from an anthology of more than 600 classic and contemporary poems. Participants were judged by a panel with expertise in various aspects of poetry and performance and awarded points for accuracy, physical presence, level of difficulty, and other criteria.
Watch Past Performances
2013. The Poetry Out Loud 2013 state finals were filmed by Pardiman Productions. Click on the links below to watch YouTube video clips of students reciting during the competition:
- Langston Ward, reciting "A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest and the Road Unknown," by Walt Whitman
- Tom Zbszewski, reciting "Dover Beach," by Matthew Arnold
- Ben Caldwell, reciting "The Greatest Grandeur," by Pattiann Rogers
- Mennah El-Gammal, reciting "La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad," by John Keats
- Meghan Mulcahy, reciting "A Locked House," by W.D. Snodgrass
2012. The Poetry Out Loud 2012 state finals were filmed by Pardiman Productions. Watch the following video clips of students reciting during the competition:
- Bonnie Blanchard, Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
- Sommer Harris, Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Dylan Nehrenberg, Sonnet XXIX: When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes by William Shakespeare
- Vannessa Serrano, A Song in the Front Yard by Gwendolyn Brooks
- Langston Ward, Chicago by Carl Sandburg
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