CHARLESTON – The 2022 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud state competition registration deadline is set for Wednesday, Dec. 15. All West Virginia public and private high schools and homeschool associations are encouraged to participate in the event, 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 contest and free program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, recitation, and competition. More than 4.1 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. One winner from each school may advance to the statewide competition. This year’s state final will be held at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston on March 11-12, 2022.

State champions from across the United States advance to the national finals. The national final awards $50,000 in student prizes and school stipends.

West Virginia’s 2021 state champion, Ben Long of Notre Dame High School, was one of nine students to advance through regional competitions and compete for the title of national champion.

The Poetry Out Loud program provides teachers with an online repository of free, standards-based curriculum materials for the classroom. 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. Teachers can access these resources at PoetryOutLoud.org, and physical copies of the teacher’s guide are available from the WVDACH. Guidelines for conducting a competition (including virtual options) are also available on the Poetry Out Loud website.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, receive the program materials, or 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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