Poetry Out Loud Competition

The Poetry Out Loud Competition helps high school students learn about poetry by memorizing and performing it. The program also helps students:

  • master public speaking skills
  • build self-confidence
  • learn about literary history and contemporary life

High schools throughout the state can use Poetry Out Loud’s free curriculum and participate in classroom and school contests, with top students advancing to a statewide competition in March. The state champion advances to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. in late April.

Poetry Out Loud grants $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including a $20,000 prize for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Past Colorado champions include:

  • 2020: Kiya Cockrell, Fountain Valley High School
  • 2019: Jesca Gilbert, Valor Christian High School
  • 2018: Hannah Alexander, Niwot High School
  • 2017: Will Edelson, Fountain Valley School

Colorado’s Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment of the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Lighthouse Writers Workshop administers the program.

2019 to 2020 Visiting Artist Roster  


Type: Competition

For: Creatives and high schools

Deadlines: Visit Lighthouse Writers Workshop

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries

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