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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.

Congratulations to 2017 Utah Champion, Ben Engel of Skyline High School!

Registration for 2017-2018 will open on August 22, 2017.

  • For details regarding Utah’s POL activities, email pol@utah.gov or call 801-236-7557.
  • For full details on the national poetry recitation competition, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.
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.

2017 Poetry Out Loud

Ben Engel of Skyline 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 15, 2017, at co-host Westminster College’s Vieve Gore Concert Hall in the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts. Engel received $200 and travel expenses to represent Utah in the national championship April 25-26 in Washington, D.C. His school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Runner-up Cody Howell of North Sanpete High School received $100, with $200 for his school library. Poetry Out Loud awards a $20,000 college scholarship to the national champion.

Approximately 32 high schools, 4,113 students, and 90 teachers around the state participated in Poetry Out Loud activities and competed in school and region competitions held in Brigham City, Gunnison, Provo, St. George, Salt Lake City, and Ogden. At the Vieve Gore Concert Hall, students recited works they selected from an anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems.


Past Winners

  • 2016 – Tessa Thornley, Bear River High School, Garland
  • 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)