Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is back for the 2023-2024!

Poetry Out Loud is open to high school students in all kinds of schools — public, private, parochial, independent, charter and home schooled students.

Poetry Out Loud builds on the recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as demonstrated by the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among our youth. The program encourages students, though the study of poetry, to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and internalize our rich literary heritage.

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. In California, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a county and possibly district competition, then to the state competition in Sacramento, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington DC.


Students must fill out the online form to be in the competition. Day of sign-ups are NOT allowed.

This year it will be an IN-PERSON COMPETITION! Once you have submitted your entry form, get to work on practicing for the February 03, 2024 OR February 08, 2024 competition at the Sutter Theater Center for the Arts at 754 Plumas Street in Yuba City.

  • Step 1: To participate in the official 2023-2024 program, go pick your poem from the poetryoutloud.com site. Poem MUST be in this website, you cannot pick poems outside of the official list.
  • Step 2: head to the online form and complete it. REGISTRATION IS CLOSED! (01/30/24)
  • Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice! If you need coaching, please reach out to me via text (530)300-6505 or email shawntay@yubasutterarts.org
  • Step 4: Check emails for information on the in-person competition at the Sutter Theater Center for the Arts in February 03, 2024!

Yuba County Competition: Feb. 3, 2024 at 11am at the Sutter Theater Center for the Arts (754 Plumas St., Yuba City, CA).

Sutter County Competition: Feb. 3, 2024 at 2pm at the Sutter Theater Center for the Arts (754 Plumas St., Yuba City, CA).

A Second Day of Competition has been added! For those that would prefer it, competitors are welcome to compete instead on Feb. 8, 2024 at 6pm at the Sutter Theater Center for the Arts (754 Plumas St., Yuba City, CA). Students of both counties will compete at the same time!


  • All participating students will receive a $20 gift card to Dutch Bros!
  • 1st place winners will receive $150 check
  • 2nd place will receive a $75 check
  • 3rd place will receive a $50 check

Visit PoetryOutLoud.org to learn more about this program and Find Out What It's Like to Compete in POL!

To participate in the official 2023-2024 program, head to the online form or copy and paste this link: https://yubasutterarts.org/poetry-out-loud-submission-form/



The Sutter County winners were First Place – Ainsley Nelson, Sutter Union High School, Second Place – Jocelyn Chan, East Nicolaus High School and Third Place - Charlotte Ramey, Sutter Union High School. The Yuba County winners were First Place – Salma Antonia Alfaqeeh, Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts, Second Place – Devon Giardini, Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts and Third Place – Jayden Giacomo, CORE Charter Academy. Judging was based on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding and overall performance. 


Last year’s competition was special because it marked the first time in three years that in person competition was allowed. During the pandemic, Poetry Out Loud was all virtual with students sending in video recordings of their recitations.  Everyone agreed that “in person” is the much-preferred format especially since pizza was available for all to enjoy. 

Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture has been conducting the Poetry Out Loud competition locally for many years.  The program was founded by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005.  Students select poems from the Poetry Out Loud online anthology of nearly 1,000 poems. Poetry Out Loud is a national program that encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. It helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.  Poetry Out Loud has grown over the years to include more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, DC, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 

The two county winners this year will go on to compete in the California Poetry Out Loud state finals March 16-17, 2024.  The state finals competition will held in Sacramento (Location TBD).  At the state level, one winner will be selected to represent California in the national competition in Washington, D.C. from April 30th-May 2nd, 2024.

For more than 15 years, Poetry Out Loud™ has given millions of high school students a similar platform through a national poetry recitation competition. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is organized at the local level by schools or organizations, and coordinators have access to a free teacher’s guide and an online anthology of classic and contemporary poetry.

With more than 1,100 poems in the anthology, students gain an understanding of the breadth of poetry, while having the freedom to discover poems with which they feel a connection. As students participate in Poetry Out Loud, not only do they develop a deeper appreciation for poetry, they also improve their analytical skills while building self-confidence and public speaking skills.

More than four million students have participated in Poetry Out Loud since 2005, many advancing from classroom competitions to school competitions to state competitions and ultimately to the national finals where students compete for the grand prize of $20,000. In total, Poetry Out Loud will award more than $100,000 to state- and national-level winners and their schools in 2024.


There is also a free POL app! With this app, students can easily find, save, and practice poems for the competition on their phones or tablets. Many thanks to our wonderful partners at the Poetry Foundation for developing this.
Available for download:

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