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.

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.

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.

2020 Poetry Out Loud Information

Regional Competitions:

Ogden, Davis, Weber, Morgan School District boundaries – Amir Jackson, regional coordinator

Alpine, Nebo, Provo School District boundaries – Justin Kennington, regional coordinator

SLC, Park City, Tooele, Murray School District boundaries – Jill Thatcher, regional coordinator              Competition Date: 2/27/20, 7 PM, Marmalade Library

Canyons, Granite, Jordan School District boundaries – Sally Wilde, regional coordinator                        Competition Date: 2/29/20, 10 AM, Herriman High School

Box Elder, Cache, Logan School District boundaries – Wayne McConkie

Southern Utah School Districts – Dr. Greg Bartholomew

Eastern Utah School Districts – Jackie Colton

School Registration

Individual Student Registration

2019 Poetry Out Loud Finals

The state finals for Poetry Out Loud were held on March 13 at co-host Westminster College’s Vieve Gore Concert Hall in the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts.

Lucy Quinn of North Sanpete High School took home top honors. She received $200 and travel expenses to represent Utah at the national championship April 30-May 1 in Washington, D.C. Her school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Runner-up Ruby Topham of Bear River High School received $100, with $200 for her school library. Poetry Out Loud awards a $20,000 college scholarship to the national champion.

Approximately 32 high schools in Utah participated in Poetry Out Loud activities and competed in school and regional competitions around the state. Students recited works they selected from an anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems.

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


Jean Tokuda Irwin
Arts Education Manager

Claudia Borjas
Arts Education Coordinator