Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. Participating students develop public speaking skills. They build self-confidence and learn to connect with literature in new ways, often discovering a new outlet for creative expression.
About the Regional and State Finals
Washington State Final
The 2022 Poetry Out Loud Washington State Final will be held virtually on Saturday, March 12th with a limited invited audience. The event will be released in a fully produced video featuring all nine regional champions. Look for it on ArtsWA’s You Tube channel in the weeks immediately following. This year’s final competition will be hosted by Zinnia Hansen – current Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, and will feature the music of the Kareem Kandi World Orchestra.
While the video is in post-production, we are pleased to share the results of this year’s State Final Competition. Congratulations to all our Student Champions!
- State Champion: Lucy Shainin from Anacortes High School
- State Runner Up: Kate Gemmell from Kamiakin High School
- State Finalist: Serena Jensen from Bickleton High School
You can view a digital program for the 2022 Poetry Out Loud Washington State Final here.
The state champion receives a $200 cash prize and will represent Washington in the National Finals, held virtually this spring. The state champions’ school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry books.
The runner-up in the state competition receives a $100 cash prize. Their school library receives a $200 cash prize.
National Finals champions receive a $25,000 scholarship and school stipends for poetry books. A total of $50,000 in prizes are awarded to the top students.
The 2022 State Final will be released on You Tube in the weeks after the March 12th Competition.
You can view the 2021 State Final broadcast on You Tube.
Most Regional Finals for the 2021-22 school year will be held virtually and will not be open to the general public. Regional Champions from the four regional competitions and POL Virtual will be listed below as they are reported. These nine champions will participate in the Washington State Final on March 12, 2022.
- Kate Gemmell – Kamiakin High School, Kennewick, WA
- Serena Jensen – Bickleton High School, Bickleton, WA
- Bela Moore – Methow Valley ILC, Twisp, WA
- Malina Weigel – Okanogan High School, Okanogan, WA
- Lucy Laybourn – Lincoln High School, Seattle, WA
- Lucy Shainin – Anacortes High School, Anacortes, WA
- Sinai Flores – North Thurston High School, Olympia, WA
- Josie Rinta – Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield, WA
- Isabel Bennett – Colville, WA
Washington first piloted Poetry Out Loud in 2005. In that first year, the program included just eight high schools in Thurston County. The program has grown to include over 60 schools from across the state. In the 2019-20 school year, over 18,000 students participated.
Washington has consistently ranked in the top five nationally in student participation. Washington State Champions continue to be strong contenders at the National Poetry Out Loud competition. Langston Ward of Spokane became our first National Champion in 2013.
Please note: these dates may be subject to adjustment.
- Registration Opens: August 16, 2021
- Registration deadline: November 19, 2021
- Classroom implementation & POL Virtual: between September 2021 and early January 2022
- School Finals deadline: January 21, 2022
- Regional Finals deadline: February 7, 2022; regional finals dates vary by region
- State Final (virtual-limited audience): March 12, 2022 at Tacoma Little Theatre
- State Final Released for viewing on YouTube: by March 21st
- National Finals: All 55 state and jurisdictional finalists will participate in the national semifinals that will stream on Sunday, May 1st, with the top nine students advancing to the national finals, that will stream on Sunday, June 5th. Both the semifinals and finals will be streamed at arts.gov.
Who can participate?
All students and schools grades 9-12 may register to participate in the Washington State Poetry Out Loud program. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Students advance from classroom competitions to school-wide competitions. School champions progress to the regional competition. Regional champions move on to the state final. Finally, one student from each state advances to the National Finals.
NEW! POL Virtual makes it possible for students who do not attend schools that register for Poetry Out Loud, and homeschooled students, to participate in the program.
If you are a student or teacher wishing to participate, please visit our Register for Poetry Out Loud page for details.
Poetry Breaks Down Barriers
Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. – Maya Angelou
National Program Sponsors
Washington Program Partners
ArtsWA partners with organizations across the state. These partners support school and student participation and regional finals.
ArtsWA also engages teacher leadership in guiding the program, and exploring opportunities for teachers and students to further connect through poetry.
- East Side: Dori Whitford, Mead High School, Spokane
- West Side: Amy Solo, North Thurston High School, Lacey