Poetry Out Loud

The Idaho Commission on the Arts joins other state arts agencies in partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to support Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation competition that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance.

Congratulations to State Champion Chloe Wherry, a Senior at Xavier Charter School in Twin Falls, Idaho! Her teachers are Amanda Loosli and Liz Copp. Chloe recited the poems Sheltered Garden by H. D., Diameter by Michelle Y. Burke and Experience by Edith Wharton.

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Winners advance from classroom competitions to school-wide, regional, and then state level competitions. One student from each state advances to the National Finals; each state level winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. A runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Additionally, a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded at the National Finals.

Idaho schools wishing to participate must be registered by a member of that school’s staff. One teacher at each registered school will serve as the Lead Teacher, acting as the primary program contact and coordinating school-level activity among the others participating.

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For more information, contact Sarah Poe, Idaho Poetry Out Loud Coordinator at 208-501-5966 or

Upon acceptance of a school registration, teachers will receive free dynamic teaching tools that will invoke students’ excitement about literature and poetry recitation.  Curriculum materials include the online poetry anthology, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides. 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

Each participating school will send the winner of their school competition directly to the State Finals in Boise. Modeled after the National Finals, the Idaho State Finals will have semi-final rounds by region earlier in the day with the top 12 students competing in the State Final in the late afternoon. The winner from the State Final will advance to the National Finals. 

State Finals were held on Saturday, March 11, 2017.

National Finals: 2017 Poetry Out Loud National Finals will take place in Washington, DC at the Lisner Auditorium on May 2, 3, and 4, 2016.

Complete details about the Poetry Out Loud national program can be found at