Poetry Out Loud

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.

Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers across the nation by capitalizing on trends in poetry recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, the spoken word, and theatre into the English classroom. Through Poetry Out Loud, students master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Since 2006, five Utah winners have ranked in the national top ten. In 2012, MarKaye Hassan of Logan High School placed third and received $5,000. She returned to Washington, D.C., to recite at the National Book Festival. In 2008, Skyline High School senior Madison Niermeyer also placed third and received $5,000. Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote Madison a letter congratulating her on her recitation of his poem “I Am Waiting.” Ashlei Havili of American Fork High School in 2014 and Devon Jones of West Jordan High School in 2015 both received honorable mentions, and they each received $1,000.

2023 Poetry Out Loud Competition

More than $100K in prizes is awarded to students and schools; a $20K award goes to the national champion. Student workshops with Utah Poet Laureate Lisa Bickmore are available.

Regions will advance one winner to the state final competition, to be held on March 8, 2023. State winners can compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C., in April 2023.

Register by January 27, 2023. Contact justinivie@utah.gov if you need assistance.

National Poetry Out Loud Resources

2023 Original Poem Competition

Utah 9th-12th graders may write and submit their own original poem(s). Cash awards will be given to winning students whose poems address current social, environmental, and health challenges facing Utah and the United States.

Winners will be invited to present their works on the evening of State finals for Poetry Out Loud, March 8, 2023.

Students may opt to participate in either the Original Poem Competition, Poetry Out Loud, or both.


  • Submitted poems must be 25 lines or less (each line of 12 pt. type with one-inch margins counts as one line).
  • Poems may be rhyme, free verse, haiku, prose poetry, or other accepted poetry forms.
  • Students may submit one or two original poems of any format, but up to a maximum of ten haiku.
  • The title must be listed above the poem. DO NOT include the name of the student.
  • Students must complete the submission form.
  • Upload poems as PDFs.

Register by January 27, 2023. Contact justinivie@utah.gov if you need assistance.

Register for 2023 Poetry Out Loud and/or Original Poem Competition

Poetry Out Loud Promotional Video

Here's a video highlighting Poetry Out Loud. Please enjoy and feel free to share!

The Poetry Out Loud logo.
National Endowment for the Arts.