How to Participate

  • Registration: Register your school here.
  • Materials: The 2022-23 Teacher’s Guide is available digitally here.
  • Eligibility: Only schools and organizations registered with their state Poetry Out Loud coordinator are eligible for the official competition. Student eligibility is detailed in the teacher’s guide and 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 2022-23.

  • 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 a fuel stipend of $60 for students, parent(s), and teachers traveling 100-250 miles round trip and $120 for students, parent(s), and teachers traveling over 250 miles round trip.

  • 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.

We are in pursuit of sponsors to cover the cost of hotel accommodations for the participants, but unfortunately that is not guaranteed as of right now. We will have need-based scholarships available no matter what.


Current & Past Champions

  • 2023: Glenn Doss, Melvindale High School, Melvindale
  • 2022: Gabriel Blaikie, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen
  • 2021: Madison Ganzak, Roosevelt High School, Wyandotte
  • 2020: Cancelled due to Covid

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 project, please contact Estee Schlenner at

Key Dates

September 1, 2022

Registration opens for the 2022-23 Poetry Out Loud season

2022-23 Poetry Out Loud Anthology goes live

December 16, 2022

Deadline to register for the 2022-23 Poetry Out Loud season

January 20, 2023

Deadline to submit student champion form here

March 3-4, 2023

Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals at the Lansing Crowne Plaza West

May 8-10, 2023

Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC