The California Arts Council has partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Since 2000, PlacerArts, State-Local partner of the California Arts Council, has facilitated Poetry Out Loud regionally. Click here for more detailed information about California Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud program.
Contest Structure and Awards
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. In California, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a county and possibly district competition, then to the state competition in Sacramento, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington DC.
Each winner at the county level receives a trip to compete at the state capitol along with a dinner reception and a certificate of recognition from his or her legislative representative. Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.