Poetry Out Loud

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 invite 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.

To get involved, high school teachers should contact Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) at 839-­9885, ext. 704, or e­mail edadmin@htyweb.org. Deadline to register is December 19, 2015.

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 self­confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Schools are 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 will receive $200 and an all­expenses­ paid trip to the National Finals May 2­4, 2016 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.


The 13 Poetry Out Loud from the 2015 state competition with emcee Ben Gutierrez

The 2015 Poetry Out Loud state participants with emcee Ben Gutierrez


Hawai‘i Homeschool Association 10th grader Ari Dalbert was selected as the 2015 Hawaii Poetry Out Loud champion and represented the state in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., last May.

This is the 11th year that HTY is partnering with HSFCA to bring Poetry Out Loud to Hawai‘i. More than 365,000 students from over 2,300 high schools nationwide took part in the 2014-­15 Poetry Out Loud program.

“To memorize a great poem is to make a friend of it for life,” said John Barr, President of the Poetry Foundation. “Poetry Out Loud brings new energy to an ancient art by returning it to the classrooms of America.”

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