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

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.

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.”

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