The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Utah Arts & Museums Arts Education Program to support Poetry Out Loud, which encourages Utah’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance.

2021-22 Poetry Out Loud Registration

School Registration

Individual Student Registration

About Poetry out Loud

POL uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Every school winner or individual student (if home-schooled or individually participating) must compete at a regional level competition. Regional competitions take place throughout February. Each region will advance one winner to the state final competition in March.

Due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 Pandemic, details to this year's POL are pending.

For details regarding Utah’s POL activities, email Jean Irwin at or call 801.236.7559.

For full details on the national poetry recitation competition, visit

Recitation and performance are major trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English and theatre class.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation release preliminary findings about the efficacy of Poetry Out Loud for students. POL Evaluation Study findings: Patricia Moore Shaffer, PhD, Deputy Director of Research & Analysis at the NEA. 
•          Key Findings: Academic Engagement
•          Key Findings: Social-Emotional Development
•          Key Findings: Poetry Appreciation & Engagement

2021-22 utah original poem competition

9th-12th grade Utah students write and present their own original poem(s). Awards will be given to students writing poems that address current social, environmental and health challenges facing Utah and the United States. Memorization is optional, but accuracy will not be scored. Students may choose to read a longer poem. Students may opt to participate in either the Original Poem Competition, Poetry Out Loud or both.


  • Students write and present one or two original poems.
  • Poems must be 25 lines or less (each line of 12 pt type with one-inch margins counts as one line).
  • Poems may be in free verse, Haiku, rhyme, or other accepted poetry forms.
  • Students may submit a maximum of ten Haikus.
  • The title must be listed above the poem. DO NOT include the name of the student.
  • Students must complete submission form (soon to become available).
  • Upload poems in pdf.

2021 Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Brynne Burgess was Utah's Poetry Out Loud state champion. Burgess, a student at Legacy Preparatory Academy, recited three poems during the virtual state competition. They included “Famous,” by Naomi Shihab Nye; “The Pull Toy,” by A.E. Stallings; and “Invictus,” by William Ernest Henley. 

Here is a video of the 2021 virtual state competition. 

The six finalists each read three selections chosen from an anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems. All of the contestants must memorize their selected poems and perform them solo on a stage lit by nothing more than a spotlight.

The runner-up was Scout Jones of Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy in Lindon. 

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The state Poetry Out Loud competition is presented annually by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums.

The finalists were selected from video submission-based competitions at the regional level. Other contestants included:

Abigail Wilde - Herriman High School
Audrey Spendlove - Snow Canyon High School
Dillon Stewart - Bear River High School
Michael Silas - Judge Memorial Catholic High School

2019 Poetry Out Loud Finals

Click HERE to watch a video about the 2019 POL competition. 


Jean Tokuda Irwin
Arts Education Manager

Claudia Borjas
Arts Education Coordinator