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Poetry Out Loud

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 9th, 2019 at the Linen Building. 12 students, from across the state, competed in the annual poetry recitation competition. Maria Palmer of Classical Christian Academy in Post Falls took top honors with her recitation of When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer by Walt Whitman, Oranges by Roisin Kelly and Adam’s Curse by William Butler Yeats. Rachel Diacogiannis (Hope Christian Academy, Marsing) and Marissa Mullin (New Plymouth High School), rounded out the top three.

Palmer will now travel to compete at the national level in Washington D.C.

In the 2018-2019 school year, Idaho had 3,218 students and 75 teachers participating in 26 schools across the state. The winner of each school competition advanced to the state semi-finals in Boise, where 12 were selected to move on to the finals. Idaho State finalist, Maria Palmer, will recieve $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. to compete for the national championship held April 29 – May 1. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up 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.


Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition that encourages 9th-12th grade students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For more information, contact Laura Roghaar, Idaho Poetry Out Loud Coordinator at (208) 519-2677 or laurameiroghaar@gmail.com. See bottom of page for important program dates.

Poetry Out Loud – Dates to Remember

September 1, 2018 POL online anthology live for 2018-19 school year

December 21, 2018 Deadline for schools to register at ICA website

January 11, 2019 Deadline to send numbers of participating teachers and students to laurameiroghaar@gmail.com

February 15, 2019 Deadline to hold a competition in your school and to send school champion information to laurameiroghaar@gmail.com

February 23, 2019 Deadline to arrange hotel accommodations in Boise for the final competition

March 9, 2019 Idaho State Semifinals and Final in Boise

March 21, 2019 Deadline for state champs and chaperones to register for National Finals

April 29 – May 1, 2019 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC