In the Spotlight

We have a winner!

On April 29, 2015, Maeva Ordaz, age 18, a senior at West Anchorage High School in Anchorage, Alaska won the title of 2015 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Ordaz won the final round with “Zacuanpapalotls,” by Brenda Cárdenas

The second-place winner was Paris J. Stroud, 18, a senior at Paulding County High School in Dallas, Georgia.  The third-place winner was Casey Ryan Goggin, age 17, a senior at Pinecrest High School in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Students and schools received $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each received $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists received $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

Now celebrating its tenth year of national competition, Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are the culmination of a yearlong poetry education program involving some 365,000 students, 9,000 teachers, and 2,300 high schools across the country. High school teachers who want to learn how to get involved in next year's program can contact their state arts agency at 

Hear more from the 2015 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Maeva Ordaz at the NEA Art Works blog.  

Photos and video of the nine finalists from the April 28 semifinals and April 29 finals are available at this link.

Recitation Tips

Nervous about reciting? Not sure what to do with your hands? Concerned about eye contact or volume or completely forgetting your poem when faced with an audience? Have no fear (or less fear at least) and check out our collection of videos featuring students like you performing and giving tips on how to get through it like a pro. 

Students from regional competitions give their strategies on memeorizing and reciting poetry

Learning Recitation Series: A great Best Practices guide for reciters

Watch the videos of past National Finalists on our YouTube channel

ASL National Finals recitation

Take a deep breath and go for it! You'll be great!