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Poetry Out Loud

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.

2015-2016 Regional Competitions List

  • To REGISTER your school, contact the POL Team at
  • For details regarding Utah’s POL activities, email or call 801-236-7557.
  • Utah State Final Competition will be on March 16, 2016 at Westminster College.
  • For full details on the national poetry recitation competition, visit
  • After completing your school competition, please complete and return this very short report.
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.

2014 Poetry Out Loud

Click HERE to hear an interview on KCPW radio with winner Ashlei Havili and POL administrator Jean Tokuda Irwin.

Ashlei Havili of American Fork High School took home top honors from the state finals for the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, presented by Utah Arts & Museums on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at co-host Westminster College’s Vieve Gore Concert Hall in the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts. Havili received $200 and travel expenses to represent Utah in the national championship April 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C. Her school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Runner-up Nick Markham of Judge Memorial Catholic High School received $100, with $200 for his school library. Poetry Out Loud awards a $20,000 college scholarship to the national champion.

Approximately 5,042 students from 43 high schools and 16 school districts across Utah participated in Poetry Out Loud activities and competed in school and regional competitions. Regional competitions were held in Gunnison, Provo, Roosevelt, St. George, South Jordan and Woods Cross. At the Vieve Gore Concert Hall, students recited works they selected from an anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems.

2014 Finalists

Utah Champion Ashlei Havili, American Fork High School, American Fork

Utah Runner-up Nick Markham, Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Salt Lake City

Mitchell Asper, North Sevier High School, Salina

Mason Duncan II, Union High School, Roosevelt

Emily Woolsey, Beaver High School, Beaver

Past Winners

  • 2015 – Sadie Merkley, Box Elder High School, Brigham City
  • 2014 – Ashlei Havili, American Fork High School, American Fork
  • 2013 – Devin Jones, West Jordan High School, West Jordan
  • 2012 – MarKaye Hassan, Logan High School (placed 3rd in National Competition)