Poetry Out Loud

Photo of Nicholas Amador of Punahou School, the 3rd place winner in the Poetry Out Loud 2016 National Competition. Nicholas stands with his hands outstretched while reciting one of three poems.

Punahou School sophomore Nicholas Amador placed 3rd in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Nicholas recited “Fishing on the Susquehanna” by Billy Collins, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman, and “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb. The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts congratulates Nicholas and his teacher and coach Lara Cowell on this prestigious achievement.

Click on this button to hear Nicholas Amador recite "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman

This is the second time a Hawai‘i student has placed in the top three nationally. Former Mid-Pacific Institute student Kellie Anae, who took third place nationally in 2006, now helps to coach young students. The competition helped her earn a scholarship to Louisiana State University. Anae says “this event helps young voices come alive through poetry.”

This is the second time a Hawai‘i student has placed in the top three nationally. Former Mid-Pacific Institute student Kellie Anae, who took third place nationally in 2006, now helps to coach young students. The competition helped her earn a scholarship to Louisiana State University.

Click on this button to hear Nicholas Amador recite "Fishing on the Susquehanna" by Billy Collins.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu attended the Poetry Out Loud Hawai‘i State Finals on February 21, 2016, held at Tenney Theatre. Chairman Chu hand-delivered a personal letter from President Barack Obama to Nicholas Amador after the National Finals.

Students and schools received $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each received $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists received $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

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Poetry Out Loud logo: green microphone with the text, "Inspiring Students" in blue across the top and the words Poetry Out Loud across the bottom, all on black background.

The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Honolulu Theatre for Youth invited high school students from across the state to compete in the 2015-16 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

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

Schools were invited to participate in classroom and school wide contests, advancing to a Hawai‘i state competition on February 21, 2016 in Honolulu. The state champion received $200 and an all­ expenses­ paid trip to the National Finals May 2-­4, 2016 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends were distributed.

It was the 12th year that HTY partnered with HSFCA to bring Poetry Out Loud to Hawai‘i. Approximately 317,000 students participated in the program this year nationwide.

The NEA and the Poetry Foundation provided state arts agencies with free, standards-based curriculum materials for use by participating schools. These materials included an online poetry anthology and a Teacher’s Guide with sample lesson plans to help instructors teach recitation and performance. Program materials were also available for download on the website, www.poetryoutloud.org, which offers additional resources.

Past Competitions
2015 Hawai‘i Poetry Out Loud
2014 Hawai‘i Poetry Out Loud