On Sunday, May 2, 2021 beginning at 12pm ET, the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals will be broadcast through a one-time-only webcast at arts.gov/poetry-out-loud. Each of the 55 champions submit in advance video recordings of their poetry recitations, which will be reviewed and scored by judges with expertise in poetry, performance, and the literary arts. The recitations from all 55 students will be broadcast on May 2 as part of one of three regional semifinals, and will include the announcement of the top nine students (three from each region) who will advance in the competition. Visit arts.gov/poetry-out-loud for the full semifinals schedule.
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.