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IAC > Arts Education > Poetry Out Loud Poetry Out Loud

2016 Poetry Out Loud State Finalists

2016 Poetry Out Loud State Finalists, Image: Laura Harris

Grace Milligan (above right) captured the 2016 Indiana Poetry Out Loud State Championships, February 20, 2016 at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Central Branch. Students from 19 Indiana high schools competed in the 2016 edition of the poetry recitation program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation.

Olivia McDermott-Sipe (above center), Bloomington High School North, Bloomington, Indiana was first runner-up, and Kelsey Anderson (above left), Eastern Greene High School, Bloomfield, Indiana was second runner-up.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is now in its eleventh year, both nationally and here in Indiana! A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, our annual state competition is organized by the Indiana Arts Commission. POL is a free high school program that encourages the study of great poetry through memorization and recitation.

This exciting 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

Beginning this year, the IAC will host a poetry writing competition in conjunction with the Poetry Out Loud State Finals. 

  • 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.

How to Get Involved

For information and questions, contact Sarah Fronczek at or 317-232-1274.
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. 

Spread the word about the 2016 Poetry Out Loud competition. 



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


Past Competitions

2015 State Champion:Emma Libersky, Plymouth High School

1st Runner-Up: Kelsey Anderson, Eastern Greene High School, Bloomfield 

2nd Runner-Up: Chinyelu Mwaafrika, Todd Academy, Indianapolis