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.
In 2013, 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.
2014 State Finals
Starting from a field of 23,000 students across 76 of Washington's high schools, Elizabeth Mo, a senior at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Benton County, took first place in the Washington State Finals for Poetry Out Loud with her recitations of In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr. by June Jordan, Dover Bear by Matthew Arnold and Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Mo is now the 2014 Washington State Poetry Out Loud Champion and will travel to Washington, D.C. on an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals on April 28-30, 2014. Additionally, she will receive a $200 prize, and her school library will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials.
Francisca Ritoch of Shorewood High School (King) took second place and receives $100, with a poetry material stipend of $200 for her school. Mckenna Johnson of Kentwood High School (King), Margot Lewis of Belling High School (Whatcom) and Meghan Mulcahy of Olympia High School (Thurston) all received honorable mentions for their recitations.
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 ...
Watch Past Performances
2014. The Poetry Out Loud 2014 state finals were filmed by Pardiman Productions. Click on the YouTube links below to watch students reciting their selected poems during the competition.
- Elizabeth Mo, reciting Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
- Meghan Mulcahy, reciting Chicago by Carl Sandburg
- Francisca Ritoch, reciting The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson
- Margot Lewis, reciting The Albatross by Kate Bass
- Mckenna Johnson, reciting [‘Often rebuked, yet always back returning’] by Emily Brontë
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