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.
Who can participate?
Who can participate?
Any school serving students in grade 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.
If you are a student or teacher wishing to participate, please visit our Register for Poetry Out Loud page for details.
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 2018-19 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.
The dates below reflect a typical Poetry Out Loud program year. Please check back in August for the specific dates for the 2020-21 program.
- Registration Opens: May 1, 2019
- Registration deadline: November 8, 2019
- Classroom implementation: Any 2-3 weeks between September 2019and early January 2020
- School Finals deadline: January 17, 2020
- Regional Finals deadline: February 2, 2020; regional finals dates vary by region
- State Final: early March, 2020, in Tacoma
- National Finals: April 27-29, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
ArtsWA partners with organizations in six regions across the state. These partners support school participation and regional finals.
- Eastern Washington: Spokane Arts
- Southeast Washington: Mid-Columbia Libraries
- Central Washington: Yakima Valley Community College
- Puget Sound: Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA)
- Northwest Washington: Skagit River Poetry Foundation
- Southwest Washington: Educational Service District 112
View videos of students performing at the State Finals
For more information about this program, please send our Poetry Out Loud Coordinator an email.