W.Va. Department of Arts, Culture & History announces 2023-24 Poetry Out Loud registration deadline

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The 2024 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud state competition registration deadline is set for Friday, Dec. 8, 2023.

All West Virginia public and private high schools and homeschool associations are encouraged to participate in this free educational program, which is sponsored annually by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History (WVDACH) in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Non-school organizations, such as afterschool programs, libraries, or nonprofit organizations, may also sponsor a local Poetry Out Loud competition for students in high schools where the program is not offered. Interested students or organizational sponsors may contact the state Poetry Out Loud coordinator for more information about how to register.

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. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about classic and contemporary poetry. More than 4.2 million students across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud since the program’s launch in 2005, including thousands of West Virginia high school students.

The program begins as students participate in classroom or school-wide competitions, or in a competition sponsored by an area organization. One winner from each school or organization may advance to the statewide competition. This year’s state final will be held at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston on March 8-9, 2024.

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete at the National Finals. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in student prizes and school/organizational stipends are awarded annually.

West Virginia’s 2023 state champion, Morgan Sprouse of Bridgeport High School, was one of nine students to advance through regional competitions and compete for the title of national champion.

Poetry Out Loud provides free curriculum materials – all available online – including a poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources. Teachers can access these resources at PoetryOutLoud.org. Guidelines for conducting a competition (including virtual options) are also available on the Poetry Out Loud website.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, or to register for the state competition, visit https://wvculture.org/agencies/arts/poetry-out-loud/ or contact Jim Wolfe, program coordinator, at james.d.wolfe@wv.gov or 304-558-0240. 

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