Wyoming Arts Council

Poetry Out Loud

Through an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered statewide by the Wyoming Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

High school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.


The Power of Poetry 

The Voices of Our Youth Command Our Future

Poetry Out Loud inspires high school students to find their voice and the confidence to make themselves heard, using one of the most powerful tools at their disposal—art.

Poetry in education has experienced a Renaissance through Poetry Out Loud. Students are given the opportunity to interact with the words of the masters through recitation, building a relationship with the works and creating a sense of shared ownership branded by their own technique of volume, pitch, pace, and personal point of view. The Wyoming Arts Council proudly hosts a Poetry Out Loud state competition each year, growing steadily since its start in 2005.

How Poetry Out Loud Works

The structure of Poetry Out Loud is similar to a spelling bee. This annual program starts in the fall, with high school teachers using the free Poetry Out Loud teacher toolkit and related materials to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions.

Classroom winners advance to a school wide competition. School champions advance to the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud finals, with a chance to compete in the national competition.

The Wyoming State Champion receives:

  • $200 cash prize
  • $500 for their school to purchase literary materials.
  • An opportunity to compete at the National Finals for college scholarship funds.

Visit  poetryoutloud.org for detailed information and to check out POL action across the country.


Registration for the 2023-2024 competition opens September 1, 2023

  • September 1, 2023 POL Anthology available for the 2023-2024 school year, and registration for state competition opens.
  • December 15, 2023 Deadline to register your school for the State Competition
  • February 9, 2024 Deadline to host school competitions & Deadline to submit written poetry for Poetry Ourselves
  • February 16, 2024 Deadline to submit school representative info for the State Competition
  • February 25, 2024 Poetry Ourselves State Competition & Open Mic in Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • February 26, 2024 Wyoming State Competition in Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • March 21, 2024 Deadline for state champions & chaperones to register for National Finals
  • April 30-May 2, 2024 Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington, DC
Register Here

Registered schools will receive free multi-media toolkits which include: a teacher’s guide complete with lesson plans, guidance on classroom contests, evaluation criteria, posters, and customizable contest announcement poster. In addition, teachers will receive updates and support from the WY Poetry Out Loud Coordinator throughout the year.

The anthology and a digital copy of the curriculum guide, the official rules and eligibility, and tips for organizing a school competition can be found on the national Poetry Out Loud website.

For more information on Poetry Out Loud visit the POL website or contact the Wyoming Arts Council.

Register Here

Read about Wyoming’s Poetry Out Loud winners

Wyoming’s 2023 Poetry Out Loud State Winner

Read about Elora Umbach in Artscapes (Summer 2023)

Winner: Elora Umbach, Penn Foster High School, Natrona County

Runner-up was Briley Farris, Buffalo High School, Johnson County

Third Place was Joesphine Haberkorn, Cheyenne East High School, Laramie County

Wyoming’s 2022 Poetry Out Loud State Winner

Wyoming’s 2021 Poetry Out Loud State Winner

Wyoming’s 2020 Poetry Out Loud winner 

Wyoming’s 2019 Poetry Out Loud winner 

Wyoming’s 2018 Poetry Out Loud winner 

Wyoming’s 2017 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2016 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2014 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2013 Poetry Out Loud  winner

Wyoming’s 2012 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2011 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2010 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2009 Poetry Out Loud winner

Wyoming’s 2008 Poetry Out Loud winner

Contact: Amara Fehring