Poetry Out Loud Competition




For about 18 years, the Arkansas Arts Council has partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to encourage students to learn great poetry and develop real-world skills. Poetry Out Loud is a free, high school program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students build self-confidence, develop public-speaking skills, learn literary history and compete for more than $20,000 at the national level. 

In March 2024, 10 Arkansas schools competed in the state championship. Images from the event are available, courtesy of Arkansas Tourism, upon request. Images are also available via the Arkansas Arts Council's social media platforms. See photos from the 2024 Arkansas Poetry Out Loud competition HERE.

You can find more detailed information on how to organize a POL contest for your school HERE. Homeschools and organizations with interested high school students (9th-12th) may enter to compete.

For information, please contact the arts in education program manager

2024 Arkansas Poetry Out Loud

Tucker Dowler, a senior at Sheridan High School, poses after earning the state championship title during the 2024 Poetry Out Loud competition March 2, 2024, at Ron Robinson Theatre.

Read More about Tucker


  • A $500 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., for the Arkansas Champion.                 
  • A $300 cash stipend for the alternate Arkansas Champion for their school to purchase poetry materials


  • A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends awarded during the finals
  • A $20,000 award for the National Champion, a $10,000 award for 2nd place and a $5,000 award for 3rd place
  • Awards of $1,000 will go to students who place 4th through 12th