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Poetry Out Loud Poetry Out Loud

Shelby Newland, 2017 Indiana Poetry Out Loud Champion

How It Works
How to Get Involved

The state finals were held on February 18, 2017 at the Indianapolis Public Library's Central Branch. Shelby Newland (pictured above) of Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Ind. earned the honor of being named the 2017 Poetry Out Loud State Champion. 

In 2017 the Indiana State Library took ownership of this extraordinary program. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation are supporting partners to Poetry Out Loud, a free high school program which encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage and compete for college scholarship funding.

How It Works

Competitions at the school or classroom level will be held during the fall semester to identify one student winner who will represent their school at the state finals and compete for the chance to represent Indiana at the National Finals in Washington, D.C. in early May. The State Champion receives:

  • $200 cash prize
  • All expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.
  • $500 for their school to purchase literary materials
  • Opportunity to compete at the National Finals for college scholarship funds
  • Poetry from Within - Writing Competition
  • School champions participating in Indiana’s Poetry Out Loud state finals will be invited to submit an original poem if they wish, but it will certainly not be required.
  • If the school champion does not want to submit a poem, the participating school may submit a poem from another student, but again, there would be no such requirement of a school.
  • A school may not submit original poetry for the competition unless the school is already participating in the state Poetry Out Loud recitation contest.
  • The original poems will be judged by separate judges, and there will be separate awards. Student and school names will remain anonymous during the judges’ consideration of the poems.

All materials and resources will be provided. Any public or private high school in the state is welcome and encouraged to participate. Homeschooled students may participate by joining in a registered high school's competition or by organizing a contest with other homeschooled students. 

How to Get Involved

For information and questions, contact the Poetry Out Load State Coordinator, Wendy Knapp at or 317-232-3691.



This event is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Special thanks to the Indiana Department of Education.