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Poetry Out Loud Idaho

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition that encourages 9th-12th grade students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. POL is cost-free for participating schools and organizations. Upon registration, organizations receive free curricular materials and program support to host dynamic recitation competitions for high school students.

Learn more about Poetry Out Loud

Bring Poetry Out Loud to Your Students

Idaho schools and organizations must be registered by a staff member who will serve as the POL Lead, acting as the primary contact and coordinating organization-wide activity. In addition to schools, non-school organizations, such as home school cooperatives, libraries, and non-profits, can also host Poetry Out Loud contests.

Register for the 2021-2022 season of POL Idaho

Upon acceptance of a registration, teachers and organizers will receive curricular materials including access to the online poetry anthology, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides. Materials are sent to schools or organizations as they are accepted through the beginning of the school year and the program is run in early winter. Poetry Out Loud does not require full class periods and can be completed in 2-3 weeks in person or online, depending on your needs.

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Winners advance from small group competitions to school or organization-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 opportunity to compete in the national championship. The state winner’s school or organization 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 or organization. Additionally, a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded at the National Finals.​

Questions? Contact Laura Roghaar, Idaho Poetry Out Loud Coordinator at PoetryOutLoud@arts.idaho.gov.


2020-2021 Season

Due to public health orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020-21 Idaho State Final was held remotely via video submission.

During the 2020-2021 season, 1,982 students and 91 teachers at 26 Idaho schools and libraries participated in Poetry Out Loud. The champions of 15 school contests have advanced to the Idaho State Final. Judging is currently underway, with the winner to be announced March 8. Great luck to all contestants!

2021 POL Idaho State Final Judges & Contestants


2019-2020 Season

Kieran Ellis, Kuna High School Idaho State Poetry Out Loud winner 2020

The Idaho Commission on the Arts is excited to share the results of the Idaho Poetry Out Loud Finals which were held on Saturday, March 7th, 2020 at the South Junior High Auditorium in Boise. 9 students, from across the state, competed in the annual poetry recitation competition final. Kieran Ellis, a senior from Kuna High School took top honors for his recitation of For the Dogs Who Barked at Me on the Sidewalks in Connecticut by Hanif Abdurraqib, Son/daughter by Kai Conradi and Song: Go and catch a falling star by John Donne. Jaidyn Bruner of Mountain Home High School and Kyran Cates of Teton High School, rounded out the top three.

Idaho State finalist, Kieran Ellis, will receive $200 and $500 will go to Kuna High School for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up, Jaidyn Bruner receives $100, with $200 for her school library.

Competitors also had the opportunity to participate in the Poetry Ourselves competition by submitting original works of poetry in spoken or written form.

A companion to Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Ourselves competition gives students the opportunity to submit original poetry. This year, Poetry Ourselves submissions were judged by poet Carmen Gimenéz Smith. The competition was open to state champions as well as students who advanced to their state final in states that were unable to hold a competition this year.

Kieran Ellis, the 2020 Idaho Poetry Out Loud State Champion and a student at Kuna High School in Kuna, is the 2020 Poetry Ourselves written poetry winner for the poem “Drought.”

Photos by Chelsea Harada

In the 2019-2020 school year, Idaho Poetry Out Loud had 2,933 students and 91 teachers participating in 27 high schools across the state. The winner of each school competition advanced to the state semi-finals in Boise where 9 were selected to move on to the finals: Jaidyn Bruner (Mountain Home High School), Kyran Cates (Teton High School), Kieran Ellis (Kuna High School), Madison Hashagen (Ririe High School), Ashley Mio (Fruitland High School), Rachel Newcomb (Eagle High School), Julia Ott (Sun Valley Community School), Maria Palmer (Classical Christian Academy), and Gabriel Sevy (Sugar-Salem High School).

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies, including the Idaho Commission on the Arts to support Poetry Out Loud.

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