Olympia High School senior Matthew Valentine has recited his way to 2023 Poetry Out Loud champion for Washington State. Matthew will go on to compete in the National Finals, May 8-10, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Matthew!

We should also note that the Oregon Poetry Out Loud champion is Kari Morgan, a junior at Oregon School for the Deaf. Congratulations, Kari!

registration is open

September 26, 2022

Poetry Out Loud is a wonderful, nationwide poetry recitation program for students in grades 9-12. Students select and memorize poems from the Poetry Out Loud print or online anthology, then compete on the school/local level. Winners advance to State competitions, and those winners compete in the National finals in Washington, DC. “Homeschooled students may participate by competing in a contest at a local school (at the school’s discretion) or with other local homeschooled students.” See the Rules & Eligibility guidelines.

The Registration deadline is Friday, November 18, 2022. For more information, contact your school or the Poetry Out Loud state contact:

See the complete list of Poetry Out Loud State Contacts for states outside the Cascadia bioregion.

state champs

March 15, 2022

Poetry Out LoudCongratulations to all the students who competed and to the students who won in the latest round of the 2022 Poetry Out Loud contest. Here are some of the Cascadia-region winners:

State Champion: Lucy Shainin from Anacortes High School (Lucy was also State Champion in 2021!)
State Runner Up: Kate Gemmell from Kamiakin High School
State Finalist: Serena Jensen from Bickleton High School

State Champion: Trayshun Holmes-Gournaris from Oregon School for the Deaf
State Runner Up: Maria Daniels from St. Stephens Academy

State Champion: Nicolai Chavez from Whitestone High School
State Runner Up: Madelynne Brehmer from North Pole High School

State Champion: Seth Hill from Classical Christian Academy

State Champion: Rachel Campbell from Chrysalis School
Second Place: Zoe Belinda from Red Lodge High School
Third Place: Ellis Mastel from Red Lodge High School

State winners will now advance to the national Poetry Out Loud competition, with semifinals to be held virtually on May 1, 2022, and finals on June 5. Both the semifinals and finals will be streamed at arts.gov.


Poetry Out Loud

February 10, 2022

It’s Poetry Out Loud season, and high school students throughout the country are memorizing, practicing, reciting, and wrapping up local competitions. State finals will take place in late February and early March; some will be in person, some virtual. Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho state finals will be held March 12, March 11, March 5, and March 12, respectively (details on the Key Dates page).

We congratulate the Washington State Regional Champions, who will compete in the State finals on March 12:


  • 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 (back for another round! Lucy was the 2021 Washington State Poetry Out Loud champion)


  • Sinai Flores – North Thurston High School, Olympia, WA
  • Josie Rinta – Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield, WA


  • Isabel Bennett – Colville, WA


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

March 22, 2020

(from left) Tamar Krames, ArtsWA Arts in Education Program Manager; Madeline Luther, a senior from Okanagon High School and first runner-up; Jordan Mattox, junior at Mead High School and state champion; Karen Hanan, ArtsWA Executive Director. Photograph by Pavel Verbovski.

Jordan Mattox, a junior at Mead High School in Spokane, is the 2020 Poetry Out Loud Washington State Champion. She was among 12 high school students who competed at the State Final held March 7, 2020, at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

“I didn’t start off absolutely loving poetry, but once you find a poem that really resonates with you, your appreciation for just literature in general can be deepened so quickly. That’s what happened to me,” said Jordan. “It’s such a great way for one to express themselves and it’s a way to share with other people things that are important to you — it’s why Poetry Out Loud is so important to me.”

The first runner-up was Madeline Luther, a senior from Okanogan High School in Okanogan and last year’s champion. Honorable mentions went to Yeshi Berry, a senior at Vancouver School for Arts and Academics in Vancouver; Mercy Haub, a sophomore at Shorewood High School in Shoreline; and Cooper Siems, a freshman at Concordia Christian Academy in Tacoma.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is the coordinating agency in our state. All participating students choose and memorize poems from the official Poetry Out Loud anthology. At the state and national finals, students are required to have three poems prepared. Jordan Mattox’s poems included “Art vs. Trade” by James Weldon Johnson, and “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest, with “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb as the final recitation.

Jordan Mattox will receive an award of $200 and Mead High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. First runner-up, Madeline Luther, will receive $100, with $200 for her school’s library. The State Champion would normally advance to the National Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, DC, but that event, scheduled for late April, has unfortunately been cancelled.

Congratulations to Jordan Mattox, and to all the Poetry Out Loud competitors. Watch Jordan recite “Art vs. Trade” by James Weldon Johnson.

Congratulations to Madeline Luther, 2018-19 Washington State Poetry Out Loud Champion. A junior at Okanogan High School, she won with her recitation of “On Quitting” by Edgar Albert Guest. Madeline will represent Washington State at the National Finals, April 30-May 1, 2019, at the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University.

Read the poem here.

%d bloggers like this: