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West Virginiaís Poetry Out Loud Contest

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest in which high school students memorize and recite poetry for an audience. The competition begins on a school-wide level, with the winners at each school advancing to the statewide competition held at the Culture Center in Charleston March 6 and 7, 2015. The winners from each US state and territory then compete at the National Finals in Washington, D.C. each spring.

Poetry Out Loud meets several CSOs in Reading and English Language Arts. Participation helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. By encouraging students to study, memorize, and perform some of the most influential and timeless poems of the English language, you immerse them in powerful literature and provocative ideas.

Champions from each school-wide contest are invited to compete at the State Finals in March. The West Virginia Poetry Out Loud State Finals are held in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theatre at the Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia. In addition to contestants from all over the state performing poetry, music and guest speakers are provided by celebrated musicians and artists. Past guests of honor include West Virginia-born actor and Oscar nominee, Chris Sarandon, nationally acclaimed Appalachian poet Nikki Giovanni, and poet and actress, Amber Tamblyn.

Champions with their families and teachers can visit the State Museum, the Capitol building, and many more of Charlestonís exciting attractions while visiting the State Finals!

Awards for Winning Students and Schools

State Competition
State Champion
$200 and all-expenses paid trip (with adult chaperone) to the National Competition in Washington, D.C. State Championís School: $500 for purchase of poetry books

State Runner-Up
$100; school receives $200 for purchase of poetry books

National Competition
National Champion
$20,000 and a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends

Rules and Guidelines

Student Eligibility Poem Eligibility Classroom and School Contests

Visit the Poetry Out Loud website for complete participation information.


September 2014 – January 2015

Familiarize students with poems and contest, teach related curriculum, and hold classroom contests

December 31, 2014

Last day to register school with Arts in Education Coordinator

January 15, 2015

Last day to hold school contest

January 30, 2015

Last day to register school champion and teacher with Arts in Education Coordinator

March 6-7, 2015

State Finals held at the Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia

April 28-29, 2015

State Champion competes in National Finals in Washington, DC

The 2014 WV Finalist for Poetry out Loud!

Teacher Registration
Media Release
Parent Release
2014 Press Release

For advice on coordinating an event and questions about classroom, school, and state contests, contact:
James D. Wolfe, Poetry Out Loud Coordinator
The Culture Center, State Capitol Complex
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305
FAX: 304-558-3560


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Brook Johnson
2006 WV Finalist
Brook Johnson

Liz McCormick
2007 WV Finalist
Liz McCormick

2008 photo gallery
2008 WV Finalist
Carolyn Rose Garcia
2009 photo gallery
2009 WV Finalist
Jasmine Lewis
2010 photo gallery
2010 WV Finalist
Jasmine Lewis
2011 champion Anthony Braxton
2011 WV Finalist
Anthony Braxton
2012 champion BRUCE MCCUSKEY
2012 WV Finalist
2012 champion BRUCE MCCUSKEY
2013 WV Finalist

2014 WV Finalist
Austin Gage

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