May 27, 2021

There are no Cascadia-region students among the 2021 Poetry Out Loud finalists, but today’s National Finals should still be inspiring. Tune in to the webcast this evening, Thursday, May 27, 2021, at 4:00pm Pacific (7:00pm Eastern) as the young competitors give their all to be the 2021 champion.

A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends include a $20,000 award for the National Champion, $10,000 for 2nd place, $5,000 for 3rd place, and $1,000 for 4th–9th places. The representing schools/organizations of each of the top nine finalists receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials.

Congratulations, Lucy!

March 17, 2021

Heartfelt congratulations to Lucy Shainin of Anacortes High School, who is the 2021 Washington State Poetry Out Loud champion as well as the inaugural Anacortes High School student poet laureate for the Skagit River Poetry Foundation. Following her win in the the March 16 State POL Finals Lucy will compete in the May 2, 2021, National Semi-finals and, we hope, the championship round on May 27.

Congratulations to all the students who selected, memorized, and recited poems in this year’s virtual Poetry Out Loud.

rethinking a contest

September 3, 2020

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country.” Students memorize poems, practice their delivery, and compete with one another on the classroom, school, state, and national level.

Not surprisingly, the 2020-2021 POL season will look a lot different from that of previous years. Though a date has not yet been set, POL has already announced that the National Finals will take place in spring 2021 as a video submission-based competition. POL is encouraging teachers and organizers at all contest levels to hold virtual competitions and have posted downloadable Poetry Out Loud Virtual Competitions & Filming Requirements (PDF).

Do you recall poems you memorized in school? The words can last a lifetime. If you have a high school student in your life, visit Poetry Out Loud, browse the poems, watch for deadlines, and consider memorizing a poem yourself!

As long as you’re just sitting there, how about memorizing a poem? You could start with one of your own, or an old favorite, or select a poem from the huge catalog at Poetry Out Loud.
Not sure? Here are a few articles that might help you make up your mind:

Start now and you could be ready to recite at your next reading… or party… or Zoom get-together.
. . . . .

Poetry Out Loud

February 23, 2019

Once again, it’s Poetry Out Loud season and that means students from over 65 high schools around Washington State have been learning, memorizing, and performing poems. The seven regional finals are now over and the top 13 students will move on to the state final on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at 1:00pm at Tacoma Arts Live / Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway, in Tacoma. Produced by ArtsWA, the event is free and open to the public.

The top student from the state final will receive a cash prize of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, (with a chaperone) to represent Washington State in the National Finals, April 29 – May 1, 2019. The state winner’s school also receives $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up in the state competition receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Additionally, $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends are awarded to the winners at the National Finals.

Click for information on Poetry Out Loud in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.

Congratulations to Cedar Tree School junior Isaac Lu, who has been named 2018 Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Lu earned the honor of representing Washington State at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, to be held April 23-25, 2018, at the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University. Watch him recite “A Thank-You Note” by Michael Ryan on YouTube.

Rising to the top from a competitive field of over 18,000 students from 66 schools across the state, Lu was among the 13 regional Poetry Out Loud champions who competed at the State Final held March 10, 2018, in Tacoma.

Although he had competed in Poetry Out Loud before, this was the first time Lu made it through regional to the state competition. He credits his success to his choice of poems and the work he did to try to understand what the poems meant.

Janelle Thirtyacre, a senior at Eatonville High School in Pierce County, was named first runner-up. Honorable mentions went to Addi Garner, a senior at Anacortes High School in Skagit County (and last year’s state champ); John Jones, a senior at Rainier High School in Thurston County; and Mackenzie Woodworth, a senior at Liberty Bell High School in Okanogan County.

As the Washington State Champion, Isaac Lu will receive an award of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete at the national championship. Cedar Tree School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. First runner-up Janelle Thirtyacre will receive $100, with a $200 stipend going to Eatonville High School’s library.

state finals

February 28, 2017

Poetry Out Loud

Thirteen high school students — the winners from seven regional finals held across Washington — will recite poetry in competition for the state title, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Poetry Out Loud national finals. The state winner also receives $200 and the state winner’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up in the state competition receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Additionally, $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends are awarded to the winners at the National Finals.

This event is FREE and open to the public. It will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 1:00-5:00pm at Broadway Center for the Performing Arts Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway in Tacoma.

See more on ArtsWA and on Facebook.

Jake takes the cake

March 9, 2016

Poetry Out Loud 2016

Congratulations to Jake Andrews, a senior from Ellensburg High School, whose recitation of “Very Large Moth” by Craig Arnold earned him the top spot in the Washington State Poetry Out Loud Finals. He will go on to represent the state at the national finals in Washington, DC, in May. Read more on the competition from ArtsWA and watch Jake Andrews recite “Very Large Moth.”

Washington winners

February 16, 2016

Poetry Out Loud 2016 WA finals

Congratulations to the 13 high school students from around Washington State who have earned a spot at the Poetry Out Loud State Final Competition!

More than 20,000 students from 77 schools in 23 counties participated this year, competing first in their own classroom, then in their school and then in seven regional finals. The Washington State Final will take place on Saturday, March 5, 1:00pm, at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma. The state final is produced by ArtsWA (the Washington State Arts Commission) and is free and open to the public. The state champion will move on to compete in the National Poetry Out Loud competition to take place in Washington, D.C., May 2-4, 2016.

More Poetry Out Loud on Facebook.

spoken memory

June 18, 2015

Lynda Barry on memorizing poetry

You may be one of those people who has poetry “on draft” — someone who has memorized scores of poems and can pour them out with hardly a second thought. Or not. Perhaps you have memorize poems on your to-do list. If the latter, here’s some encouragement…

First, read The New Yorker article, “Why We Should Memorize,” By Brad Leithauser. Leithauser puts the traditional practice of memorizing poems into a more contemporary context.

Second, pay an online visit to Kim Rosen, who writes, speaks and teaches workshops on the value of poetry and memorizing.

Third — no, on second thought, first — watch the video “Lynda Barry! The View From Here: Emily Dickinson, Poetry and Survival.” The always irreverant Lynda Barry is probably more familiar as a cartoonist, but the video, made by The Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine, offers the artist’s take on the importance of poetry as well as her somewhat unconventional approach to memorizing it.

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