On June 5, 2022, Arizona’s 2022 Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Oscar Landa Samano, will be among the nine contestants to compete in the final round of the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. The winner will be named National Champion and will be awarded a $20,000 scholarship.
A senior at Coconino High School in Flagstaff, Landa Samano won the title of State Champion in March, after having won school- and regional-level contests. On May 1, his recitations were judged alongside those of the champions from all 50 states and 5 US territories at the national semi-finals. Only the nine top scoring contestants advance to the final round.
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A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. Participating students memorize and recite classic and contemporary poems selected from more than 1,100 in the Poetry Out Loud anthology. Judges review and score the recitations based on criteria including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy.
A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the National Champion, $10,000 for 2nd place, $5,000 for 3rd place, and $1,000 for 4th–9th places. The representing schools/organizations of each of the top nine finalists receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials.
The 2022 competition will culminate on Sunday, June 5, 2022, with a one-time-only webcast available on the NEA’s website at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud beginning at 4:00 pm (PT). Poet, publisher, and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander will host the virtual event that will include poetry recitations by each of the finalists and the announcement of the National Champion.