Kellen Vu, a sophomore at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix, will represent Arizona at the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud national finals competition in Washington, D.C., April 25-26, 2017. The Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals were held on Saturday, March 12, 2017, at the studios of Arizona PBS in Downtown Phoenix.

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition delivered in high schools in all 50 states and three territories through partnerships with State Arts Agencies. Arizona’s Poetry Out Loud program is managed by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, with support from regional partners, University of Arizona Poetry Center and Phonetic Spit.

At the state finals competition, hosted by Tomas Stanton, 10 students, representing schools from Flagstaff to Tucson, recited poems by a diverse array of literary luminaries, including E. A. Markham, Emily Dickinson, and Suji Kwock Kim. After two rounds of recitations, four students were selected to advance to the final round. From these four, Kellen Vu was named State Champion while Sophie Weinzinger, a sophomore at Coconino High School in Flagstaff was named first runner-up.
As State Champion, Vu receives $200 and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the National Finals. Vu’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As runner-up Weinzinger receives $100 and her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books.

2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finalists:

(students in bold advanced to final round)

  • Paul Cassidy, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
  • Thea Cline, Tri-city College Prep High School, Prescott
  • Chaiah Durst, Sedona Red Rock High School, Sedona
  • India Harris, Desert View High School, Tucson
  • Tillie Jones, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
  • Cynthia Oldham, Combs High School, San Tan Valley
  • Amanda Rambert, American Leadership Academy Ironwood Campus, San Tan Valley
  • Kellen Vu, Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix
  • Sophie Weinzinger, Coconino High School, Flagstaff
  • Olivia Wrenn, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson

The event was recorded and will be broadcast on Arizona PBS on Friday, April 7, at 9:30 pm.

The Poetry Out Loud national semifinals will be held in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, April 25 at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University. Nine finalists will then advance to the national finals, also held at Lisner Auditorium, on Wednesday, April 26.


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Host a Poetry Out Loud Viewing Party

When to watch

The Poetry Out Loud semifinals take place on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., where 53 high school students from Eastern, Central, and Western/Pacific regions will compete in three separate semifinals. Visit the webcast page for the full schedule.

Nine students (three from each semifinal) will advance to the national finals on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 between 7:00 and 9:15 p.m. ET to compete for the title of 2017 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Register your party

If you'd like to host a Poetry Out Loud webcast viewing party for some or all of this two-day event, please register here. You'll also find tips and sample materials to help you host and promote a viewing party. Check this list to see if there's a Poetry Out Loud webcast viewing party in your community.

Poetry Out Loud webcast viewing parties are intended solely as educational events to help foster dialogue about poetry, and about the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. Poetry Out Loud webcast viewing parties must be free of charge, no purchase requirements of any kind.

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As if the Arizona Poetry Out Loud state finals weren't exciting enough, the 2017 finals were held in the downtown Phoenix studios of Arizona PBS. On March 11, 2017, 10 high school students from all across the state stepped on to the stage and into the spotlight to recite poems for a live audience and Arizona PBS's TV cameras. In April, Arizona PBS and Arizona Public Media televised a half-hour special featuring highlights from the competition. 

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Kellen Vu of Arizona School for the Arts is 2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Kellen Vu, a sophomore at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix, will represent Arizona at the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud national finals competition in Washington, D.C., April 25-26, 2017. The Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals were held on Saturday, March 12, 2017, at the studios of Arizona PBS in Downtown Phoenix.

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2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals

On Saturday, March 11, 2017, the Arizona Commission on the Arts will present the 12th Annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud state finals competition at the downtown Phoenix studios of Arizona PBS. 10 high school students from throughout the state will compete in the poetry recitation contest for an opportunity to represent Arizona at the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C. 

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A national recitation contest created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theater into the English class. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage all while competing for scholarship prizes!

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Congratulations to Arizona School for the Arts' Kellen Vu, the 2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Vu competed in the Finals Competition in Washington DC this week and placed in the final round of the semi finals competition. He is pictured with US Senator Jeff Flake. ... See MoreSee Less

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Together with CALA Alliance, we invite you to join us for the closing of “Para Un Muro Ensimismado,” a temporary art installation created through a collaboration between Mexican contemporary artist Betsabeé Romero and a team of local artists. ... See MoreSee Less

Closing Reception: Betsabeé Romero Art Installation

May 5, 2017, 6:30pm - May 5, 2017, 10:00pm

Join us this First Friday for the closing of "Para Un Muro Ensimismado," a temporary art installation by Mexican contemporary artist Betsabeé Romero and Arizona artists. During her Phoenix residenc...

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