How to Participate

  • Registration: Registration for the 2024-25 academic year will open by early June.
  • Eligibility: Only schools and organizations registered with their state Poetry Out Loud coordinator are eligible for the official competition. Student eligibility is detailed on the Poetry Out Loud website.

What is Poetry Out Loud?

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. By encouraging youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The program and all materials are provided to each partner at no cost.

Each year, participating partners host their own competitions and select a student to represent their school at the state finals. The state champion advances to the national finals in Washington, D.C. and competes for a $20,000 college scholarship.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of Michigan Humanities, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Michigan’s state champion receives a $1,000 cash award and an opportunity to represent Michigan at the national competition. At the state level, the first runner-up will receive $750, the second runner-up will receive $500, and the third runner-up will receive $250.

School Partner Expectations

  • Incorporate poetry recitation into curriculum (at teacher’s discretion) during fall and winter 2024-25.
  • Hold classroom and school competitions—virtually, in-person, or in a hybrid format—to determine school champion.
  • Ensure school champion will attend state and national championships (if selected).
  • Provide school champion’s information to Michigan Humanities.
  • Be prepared to report expenses, dates (teaching and competitions), and participation numbers.

    Full contest rules are available in the Poetry Out Loud teacher’s guide.

Michigan Humanities Commitment

  • Provide a Poetry Out Loud teacher’s guide to each participating teacher.
  • Provide hotel accommodations at the state finals for participating schools (two hotel rooms per school).
  • Provide a fuel stipend for students, parents, and teachers traveling to the state competition.
  • Provide State Champion with the Poetry Out Loud traveling trophy to be kept at their school for one year. Champion will also receive a minimum award of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for a $20,000 scholarship at the national competition.
  • Provide poetry programming opportunities and offer Poetry Out Loud support via Michigan Humanities.

Current & Past Champions

  • 2024: Paige Cook, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen
  • 2023: Glenn Doss, Melvindale High School, Melvindale
  • 2022: Gabriel Blaikie, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen
  • 2021: Madison Ganzak, Roosevelt High School, Wyandotte

Social Media

Get updates, post questions, and share your photos via the Michigan Humanities’ accounts below and with #MIHumanities, #MIPoetryOutLoud, and #IamPoetryOutLoud.

Follow Michigan Humanities

Follow Michigan Poetry Out Loud


If you have questions or would like to discuss a potential partnership, please contact Katie Wittenauer at

Key Dates

June 2024

Registration opens for the 2024-25 Poetry Out Loud season

September 1, 2024

2024-25 Poetry Out Loud Anthology goes live

December 6, 2024

Deadline to register for the 2024-25 Poetry Out Loud season

January 24, 2025

Deadline to submit student champion form

March 2025

Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals (dates TBD)

May 5-7, 2025

Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC