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Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest

Poetry Out Loud's 2017 State Champion is Lawson Marchetti from Jackson Preparatory School.

The 2017 Poetry Out Loud Mississippi Finals were held on March 9th at Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson. Nine students from across the state participated in the Mississippi state Poetry Out Loud finals. The top three winners were:

1st Place – Lawson Marchetti - Jackson Preparatory School
2nd Place – D’Angelo Jefferson - Pascagoula High School
3rd Place – Amber Jackson - St. Martin High School

About the Program

Poetry Out Loud, a program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is for students in grades 9 through 12. Since 2005, it has helped students in all fifty states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and improve their reading comprehension scores while learning about their literary heritage.

Through the Poetry Out Loud curriculum, teachers guide students to a deeper, richer understanding of the power of language and literature by helping them develop a personal relationship with great poems. An added benefit is that Poetry Out Loud offers all students the opportunity to compete for awards, prizes, and recognition.

REGISTRATION FORM FOR 2018 (includes detailed FAQs)


Watch the 2016 Poetry Out Loud Mississippi state finals, held at Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Who Can Participate?

Any school or homeschool group in Mississippi that teaches students in grades nine (9) through twelve (12) can register to participate in Poetry Out Loud. Public, private, parochial, alternative, independent, and Christian schools -- as well as homeschool groups or organizations and school-sponsored afterschool programs -- are encouraged to participate. Individual students, individual homeschools, and community groups or programs (clubs, Centers, etc.) cannot register to participate, but are welcome to use Poetry Out Loud as an activity.

Contest Structure and Awards

Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to school-wide contests, Regional Contests, State Finals and, ultimately, to the National Contest held in Washington, D.C.

The State Champion receives $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington to compete in the National Contest. The Champion's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The runner-up receives $100, with $200 going to his or her school library. At the National Contest, contestants can win $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 or the grand prize of $20,000.


Program materials and schedule

Schools that register to participate in Poetry Out Loud will receive free curriculum materials that include print and online poetry anthologies, a teachers guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, an audio CD featuring distinguished actors and writers, a video DVD of "best practices" examples of student recititaions, promotional and media guides, a comprehensive Website, and support from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the POL State Coordinator.  Schools that choose not to register may still access the Poetry Out Loud website and use the materials available there -- but they will not be invited to participate in the Regional, State, and National Recitation Contests.


For more information on Poetry Out Loud, contact MAC's POL Coordinator at


Frequently Asked Questions

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