Poetry Out Loud

Program Summary

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation that encourages young performers in Colorado to bring the words of great poets to life through memorization, recitation, and competitive performance. The program starts in the school, or at the local level, with an area organization. Winners from school and local competitions then advance to state competition, and ultimately to the national finals 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.

A goal of the program is to help high school students learn about poetry by memorizing and performing it, master public speaking skills, build self confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. 

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

Learn more about the program     


Type: Competition

For: Creatives and high schools

Deadlines: Visit Empowered

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries

2023-2024 Competition Information and Important Dates

Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Registration Due- Poetry Out Loud Registration Form - Google Forms

Monday, January 22, 2024
Deadline to turn in school participation list.

Sunday, February 4, 2024
All school/local competitions must be completed by this date.

Sunday, February 4, 2024, at 5:00 PM
Students participating in Poetry Ourselves Competition must submit their original poem by this date.

Thursday, February 7, 2024 at 5:00 PM
Regional Video Submission Due
Top two students from each school will submit a video submission reciting one of three anthology poems,
Regional winners will be announced on Thursday, February 15, 2024.

Monday, March 11, 2024
State Competition will be held at the Denver Center of Performing Arts located at 1101 13th St.
Denver, CO 80204. Time TBD.
(State Finalist 100+ miles away will be provided hotel accommodations Saturday, March 10, 2024. Additional
information to come.)

Friday, March 15, 2024
State Finalist Submission is due.

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Deadline for state champions and chaperones to register for National Finals.
(Registration forms will be sent closer to the event.)

Tuesday, April 30 – Thursday, May 2, 2024
Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC.
(Additional information to come closer to the event.)

Participants may join the "Poetry Out Loud State Partners and Program Coordinators" group on Facebook to contribute to the forum and see tips and questions from fellow coordinators.

Program Manager


Jesse Martinez



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