In the Spotlight

Langston Ward is the 2013 POL National Champion!

From a competitive field of some 375,000 students nationwide, Langston Ward, a senior at Mead High School in Spokane, Washington, won the title of 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Champion at the National Finals held in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. With this achievement, Ward received a $20,000 award and his high school, Mead High School, received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. 

A two-time Washington State Champion, Ward was also one of nine finalists competing for the national title last year. Ward’s final recitation yesterday evening was “The Bad Old Days,” a poem by Kenneth Rexroth. Ward also recited Walt Whitman’s “A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown” and Li-Young Lee’s “The Gift” at the Tuesday evening finals. When asked about his future relationship with poetry, Ward said, “I’ll keep these poems with me forever, that much I know.”

The second-place winner in the 2013 Poetry Out Loud national competition was Blessed Sheriff of Rockville, Maryland, who received a $10,000 award. Denise L. Burns of Lawton, Oklahoma, received the third-place prize and a $5,000 award.

Read more about the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals here