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Delaware Division of the Arts Announces 2022-2023 POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Recitation Contest

September 26, 2022

Wilmington, Del. – The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud™ in partnership with the Delaware Division of the Arts. This national arts education program 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 and build self-confidence, while also learning more about both classic and contemporary poetry.

From October 2022 to January 2023, schools are invited to hold classroom and school-wide contests, with students advancing to a state competition on March 2, 2023, at the Smyrna Opera House in Smyrna, DE. Non-school organizations, such as after-school clubs, libraries, or nonprofit organizations, may also choose to run Poetry Out Loud. Students may only compete in one stream-either with their school or an organization. More information is available at, including guidelines for conducting the competition in person or virtually. State champions will advance to the national finals, which will take place in Washington, D.C. in May of 2023, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

A stand-alone microphone is seen on stage Friday, October 01, 2021, at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

“We are proud to partner with the Poetry Foundation and the Delaware Division of the Arts to make Poetry Out Loud available to students in Delaware,” said Amy Stolls, National Endowment for the Arts director of Literary Arts. “It is inspiring to see students thrive through this program as they develop a deeper understanding of poetry while building self-confidence.”

“All of the student competitors demonstrate their openness to the power of poetry and their commitment to developing skills that allow them to share that power with those around them,” said Michelle T. Boone, Poetry Foundation president. “The young people involved in Poetry Out Loud are remarkable, and we are honored to be a part of this program.”

“There is no better way for students to discover the power of classic poetry and develop vital presentation and oratory skills than participating in Poetry Out Loud. Given the local recognition for participants and the state and national scholarships offered Poetry Out Loud is an extremely rewarding opportunity for our students, teachers, and schools,” said Delaware’s Poet Laureates Al and Nnamdi Chukwuocha.

As part of Poetry Out Loud, the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation provide free, standards-based curriculum materials—all available online—which teachers may choose to use in their classrooms. These include an online poetry anthology containing more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters, and video and audio on the art of poetry recitation. Schools are welcome to access these resources at

How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud
High schools and organizations that wish to be part of the official Poetry Out Loud program must register with the Delaware Division of the Arts by October 31, 2022, to participate. The Division will work with interested schools and organizations to include them in the official Poetry Out Loud program. Schools and organizations that are not in the official program may conduct their own contests using online resources. Contact Sheila Dean Ross at or by phone at 302-577-8286 or visit Arts.Delaware.Gov or for more information.

Poetry Out Loud awards
Each state champion will receive $200 and will advance to the national championship, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The state champion’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, the publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence of poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.