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Welcome to Poetry Out Loud!

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest open to all Idaho high school students. It is a free program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through exploration, memorization, and performance. It is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in cooperation with the Idaho Commission on the Arts. 


Starting from a field of more than 2,000 students across Idaho’s high schools, Cheyenne Schultz, a junior at Teton High School in Driggs, took first place in the Idaho State Finals for Poetry Out Loud with her recitations of A Poison Tree by William Blake, The Uniform by Marvin Bell, and The Paradox by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Cheyenne is now the 2015 Idaho State Poetry Out Loud Champion and will travel to Washington, D.C. on an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals on April 27-29, 2015. Additionally, she will receive a $200 prize, and her school library will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

Virginia Harness of Canyon County Homeschoolers took second place and receives $100, with a poetry material stipend of $200 for her school. Tim Malm of Moscow High School and Savina Barini of Xavier Charter School received honorable mentions for their recitations.

Watch this short video to find out more
about Poetry Out Loud in Idaho.

Upon acceptance of a school application, teachers will receive dynamic teaching tools that will invoke students' excitement about literature and poetry recitation, including sample lesson plans, audio CDs of poets reciting their own famous works, publicity materials for school competitions, and a DVD of winning student performances from the Poetry Out Loud National Finals.
Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include the online poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, a DVD of National Finals performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides. Hard copies of materials are free for teachers participating in the official program. 

Materials are sent to high schools as they are accepted through the beginning of the school year, and the program is run through early winter. Poetry Out Loud does not require full class periods and can be completed in 2-3 weeks. 

Complete details about the Poetry Out Loud program from the national program website can be found here.


Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is a national competition for high school students. It builds on the recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form.

Participation begins at the classroom level across Idaho. Teachers organize contests involving one class or a whole school with the winners advancing to regional semi-finals, the state finals, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC. Contestants can choose poems from an extensive anthology of classical and contemporary poetry. 


Teachers from more than 30 Idaho high schools have taken part. Here's what makes the program so popular:

  • it fits well into literature curriculum
  • it creates an entry point for students to appreciate poetry
  • it strengthens community in the classroom
  • it reaches students that might not otherwise take to poetry or recitation
  • it offers more than $50,000 in prizes to students and schools at the state and national level.


Contact Information

Ruth Piispanen
ICA Director of Arts Education

Sarah Poe
Poetry Out Loud Coordinator

Idaho POL Previous State Winners

Savina Barini

2013 - Savina Barini, Xavier Charter School
2012 - Emily Musette Hays, Moscow Senior High School
2011 - Haley Henderson, Moscow Senior High School
2010 - Haley Henderson, Moscow Senior High School

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Download the 2015 - 2016 Application HERE

Please join us in wishing all of the best to Cheyenne, junior at Teton High School, Driggs, Idaho!

Idaho’s 2015 State Poetry Out Loud Champion, Cheyenne Schultz, will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the national finals on April 27-29, 2015.

You don’t have to be in DC to take part in the thrill of the competition. Watch the live webcast here.

Recitation Schedule:
Poetry Out Loud Semifinals -Western States
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:00 – 6:00 Mountain time, 2:00 – 5:00 Pacific

Poetry Out Loud National Finals Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific


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