National Finals


Poetry Out Loud National 2016 Finals 

The POL 2016 National Finals will take place May 2-4, 2016 at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, Washington, DC. Check back for more details. 

Poetry Out Loud Partnerships

The National Finals are the culmination of efforts by many partners. As national partners, the NEA and the Poetry Foundation have supported the administration of the program, created educational materials, and funded awards for both the state and national finals. State arts agencies have implemented the program in high schools nationwide and organized state competitions, often in collaboration with local arts organizations. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Schools interested in registering for the 2015-2016 Poetry Out Loud contest should contact their state arts agency. More information is available at

Educational Materials, Contests, and Awards

Poetry Out Loud offers educators free standards-based curriculum materials, which include a poetry anthology with more than 900 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Schools are welcome to download these free resources

Using a pyramid structure, Poetry Out Loud started with classroom and schoolwide activities and contests between September 2014 and February 2015. State contests were held by mid-March; the 53 champions of contests in every state, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC, compete at the National Finals. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will present $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books. Awards include $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. In total, Poetry Out Loud will award more than $100,000 to state- and national-level winners and their schools.

Fast Facts About #POL15

  • Poetry Out Loud participation 2005-2015: 2.7 million students and 9,500 schools.
  • 2014-2015 participation stats: 365,000 students, 9,000 teachers, 2,300 high schools.
  • Top three most popular poems for 2014-15 season: “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser, “Across the Bay” by Donald Davie and “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost.
  • Number of repeat state champs at National Finals, 2005-2014: 42. Number of repeat schools at National Finals: 81, including five-timer Arvada/Clearmont High School (WY).
  • States with the highest number of participating students in 2015: New Jersey, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
  • Oldest and youngest poets represented in the 900+ poem anthology are Queen Elizabeth I (b. 1533) and Jamaal May (b. 1982).

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work, advance access to and participation in the arts, and promote a more sustainable arts ecology.

About the NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to strengthen the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative partnerships, prizes, and programs. For more information, visit



Read the 2013 Champion Announcement (PDF)

Read the 2012 Champion Announcement (PDF)

Read the 2011 Champion Announcement (PDF)

Read the 2010 Champion Announcement (PDF)