On Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 pm ET, actor and writer Shaun Taylor-Corbett will host the 2021 Poetry Out Loud national finals. Webcast at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud, the evening will feature pre-recorded recitations, live interviews with the top nine finalists, and the live announcement of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The national finals judges will include Cathy Linh Che, Eduardo C. Corral, Gabriel Cortez, Idris Goodwin, Elisa New, and Branden Wellington.
For the first time in the program’s 16-year history, the Poetry Out Loud™ national semifinals and finals will be held virtually this May. Each year, high school students nationwide experience Poetry Out Loud, memorizing and reciting classic and contemporary poetry and participating in local, regional, and state competitions. From the thousands of students who competed in 2020-2021, 55 finalists—one from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa—will advance to compete in the Poetry Out Loud national finals. The virtual finals will culminate in the announcement of the 2021 national champion, who will receive a grand prize of $20,000. Visit poetryoutloud.org for the list of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions and their high schools.