2023 POL WA State Final Regional Champions stand in a line on stage. Photo by Pavel Verbovski

2023 Poetry Out Loud regional champions stand on stage at the Washington State Final. Photo by Pavel Verbovski.

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.

Poetry Out Loud is supported by The National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation.  ArtsWA coordinates and manages the program in Washington State.

About Regional and State Finals

Washington State Final

The 2024 Washington State POL State Final Competition took place on Saturday, March 9th beginning at 1pm at Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 North I Street in Tacoma. The Compeition was livestreamed through Tacoma Little Theatre’s You Tube Channel, and the full livestream will be available for a limited time. Click Here to watch.

A digital program of the 2024 Washington State Poetry Out Loud Final Competition is available here.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2024 Washington Poetry Ourselves original poetry competition. The announcement video can be viewed here. Audio of the winning poems, read by the authors, is available 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 Final

The National Final champion receives a $25,000 scholarship and school stipends for poetry books. A total of $50,000 in prizes are awarded to the top students.

The 2024 National Finals are scheduled to take place April 30 – May 2, 2024 in Washington, D.C. 

National Semifinals—Wednesday, May 1, 2024 

The state and jurisdictional champions will compete in one of three National Semifinals between 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET at Lisner Auditorium, the George Washington University, 730 21st Street NW, Washington, DC. All three semifinals are free and open to the public—no ticket required.

  • 9:00 a.m. ET— Champions from Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • 1:00 p.m. ET— Champions from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  • 5:00 p.m. ET— Champions from Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

National Finals—Thursday, May 2, 2024

The National Finals will take place at 7:00 p.m. ET, also at Lisner Auditorium, and will culminate with the announcement of the 2024 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The National Finals are free and open to the public—no ticket required.

In addition to the live competition at Lisner Auditorium, both the Semifinals and National Finals can be viewed via a one-time-only live webcast at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud.

Regional Finals – 2024

The following students are this year’s Regional Champions, and will advance to the State Final Competition in Tacoma, on March 9th, 2024.


Kate Gemmell – Kamiakin High School

Kaylin Warner – Selah High School



Leki Albright – Liberty Bell High School *State Honorable Mention*

Sydney Frost – Mt Spokane High School *State Runner-Up*



Selah Burrowes – Lincoln High School

Gregory Chvany – Mercer Island High School



Elizabeth McAleer – Battle Ground High School

Blaze Rowan – Olympia High School *State Champion*



Nascha Martinez – Kingston

Poetry Breaks Down Barriers

Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. – Maya Angelou

Important Dates

Please note: these dates may be subject to adjustment.


  • National Finals: April 30 – May 2, 2024 in Washington, D.C.


  • Washington POL Registration Opens: August 20, 2024
  • POL Online Anthology Updated by the National Office: September 1, 2024
  • Classroom implementation & POL Virtual: between September 2024 and early January 2025
  • Teacher-to-Teacher Session (online) – TBA
  • Registration deadline: November 22, 2024
  • POL Connects Online Workshop: November 25, 2024
  • School Finals deadline: January 17, 2025
  • Regional Finals deadline: February 3, 2025; regional finals dates vary by region
  • State Final: March 8, 2025, at 1:00 p.m., hosted by Tacoma Little Theatre
  • National Finals: May 5-7, 2025 in Washington D.C.

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.

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.

Program History

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.

Watch recitations by previous State Finalists

National Program Sponsors

Washington Program Partners

ArtsWA partners with organizations across the state. These partners support school and student participation and regional finals.

Eastern Washington:
Spokane Arts

Central Washington:
Yakima Valley College

Northwest Washington:
Skagit Valley Poetry Foundation

POL Virtual:
Tacoma Little Theatre

South Puget Sound Community College logo

ArtsWA engages teacher leadership in guiding the program, and exploring opportunities for teachers and students to further connect through poetry. For the 2022-23 school year Carolyn Gilman, from Olympia High School, will bring her decade and more of knowledge and enthusiasm for Poetry Out Loud to the role of statewide Teacher Liaison.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions, contact our Poetry Out Loud coordinator by email.


Social Media

ArtsWA Facebook | ArtsWA Twitter | POL Facebook  | Poetry Out Loud Twitter | Poetry Foundation