Poetry Out Loud


For the past 14 years more than 12,000 high school students across New Mexico have participated in the Poetry Out Loud state recitation competitions, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation. New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, invites your high school to participate.

The first ten districts to confirm participation will be included in the state finals competition.


How Do I Get My School Involved?

The deadline to register your school is Friday, October 11, 2019. If you would like to participate, please register here for the 2019 - 2020 Poetry Out Loud state competition.Google Doc If you need more information, contact Phyllis Kennedy, Poetry Out Loud Coordinator, at Phyllis.Kennedy@state.nm.us or 505-476-0520.

How Do I Teach It?

The NEA and The Poetry Foundation have created standards-based curriculum materials for participating schools to use. Each participating teacher/school site will receive a free toolkit, which includes:

  • a teacher's guide to help teach recitation and performance,
  • an audio guide with selected poems recited by distinguished actors and writers.

In addition to the toolkit, the Poetry Out Loud website (www.poetryoutloud.org) offers resources for teachers including a teachers forum and the expanded online anthology of 900 poems.

New Mexico Arts offers workshops to work directly with students and/or teachers to help them understand and recite poetry. This opportunity is only available for participating schools and districts.

What Is The Timeline?

Participating schools will implement the program from August 2018 through mid-February 2019 to prepare for the state finals on March 8, 2020, in Santa Fe.

Where applicable, district-wide competitions will be held to select a winner to represent the district at the state finals.

The program is designed to take one to three weeks to implement in a classroom setting. Many teachers who have participated used Poetry Out Loud in addition to, or as an extension of, their existing curriculum.

2020 Poetry Out Loud Competitors

2020 Poetry Out Loud Competitors. Ashley Turner Photographer

State and National Prizes

At the state level, the first-place winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state champion's school library will receive a $500 stipend toward the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up will receive $100, and $200 for his or her school library. The national competition awards a total of $50,000 in prizes and school stipends at the national finals. The national champion will receive a $20,000 prize.