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Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest

September 2018 May 2019
South Carolina High Schools


Poetry Out LoudPoetry Out Loud in South Carolina

For a 13th year, the South Carolina Arts Commission has partnered with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the "Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest" to South Carolina high schools. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance.



November 27 is the deadline for schools and teachers to sign up for Poetry Out Loud.



Congratulations to Janae Claxton of Charleston, the first South Carolina student to win the National Poetry Out Loud competition! Read more >>>


2018 South Carolina Poetry Out Loud State Champion


National Poetry Out Loud Champion!

Janae Claxton with

S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May

 Janae Claxton

Grade 12, First Baptist School

Region 3: Lowcountry, Charleston County






Contest structure

Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level, with winners from each classroom advancing to a school-wide competition and then to regional competitions. Regional winners advance to South Carolina's statewide competition. Ultimately, one student from each state will compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C.


Student Eligibility

Only high school students in grades 9-12 are eligible, with an exception made for 8th grade students who are in a participating 9th through 12th grade class. Competitors at the state and national finals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Students are responsible for verifying their eligibility. Schools must register with their state Poetry Out Loud coordinator in order to participate in the official state competition. A student may not advance to the state finals without competing in a lower-level competition. Homeschooled students may participate by competing in a contest at a local school (at the school’s discretion) or with other local homeschooled students. The state Poetry Out Loud coordinator should be consulted for guidance on participation. A school-level competition must include at least two students. Students unable to participate at a local school should contact their state Poetry Out Loud coordinator to discuss any other opportunities for inclusion in the state’s official competition. A National Champion is not eligible to compete in subsequent years.



Statewide partners include the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel. Regional partners include Hub City Writers Project in Region 1, One Columbia in partnership with the South Carolina Center for Oral Narrative at USC Sumter and the Richland Library in Region 2, and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Region 3.


More about the S.C. Poetry Out Loud partners >>