National Finals

The 2019 National Finals will be held April 30-May 1, 2019 at the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University. On Tuesday, April 30, 2019 the state champions will compete throughout the day in three semifinal rounds organized by region from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, 730 21st Street NW, Washington, DC.

The top nine finalists (three from each semi-final round) will advance to the finals competition on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, also at Lisner Auditorium, from 7:00 to 9:15 p.m. ET. Poet, author, and 2018 National Book Award recipient Elizabeth Acevedo will return for the fourth year as host of the National Finals, which will also include a performance by Kansas City-based mother/son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear.

These events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. Both days of competition will also be available through a live, one-time-only webcast at arts.gov. Schools and organizations that wish to organize a viewing party of some or all of the competition can visit arts.gov for tips on hosting a viewing party and details on other viewing parties around the country. Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #POL19.

Tuesday, April 30 - Semifinals - Lisner Auditorium

Semifinals are free and open to all to attend. No tickets required.

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Semifinal: Region 1

East Central and Northeast

DE, OH, SC, VA, NJ, RI, DC, VT, PA, MD, NY, NC, MA, ME, NH, CT, WV, USVI


1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Semifinal: Region 2

Midwest and South Central

FL, WI, PR, LA, TN, MI, IA, KY, NE, GA, MS, MO, IL, OK, AR, IN, AL, KS


5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Semifinal: Region 3

Upper Northwest and West

UT, AZ, MT, AK, WA, ND, TX, HI, NM, CO, MN, ID, WY, NV, SD, OR, CA


Please Note: The recitation order within each region is determined by a random process. The random recitation order will be honored for all three rounds of competition at the semifinals.

Wednesday, May 1 - National Finals

Free and open to the public. No tickets required.

7:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. National Finals at Lisner Auditorium


FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL19.


Schools interested in Poetry Out Loud contest should contact their state arts agency.


What People are Saying

"I learned to enjoy older poems. At first, I hated the requirement that I had to choose a poem that was pre-20th century. However, as time went by, I began to enjoy the poems more and more. My favorite pre-20th century poet is now Emily Bronte. "
Eseme Segbefia
2018 NY POL Champ