South Carolina Arts Commission

Poetry Out Loud

Janae Claxton and Ken May

National Recitation Contest

Each year, the SCAC joins national partners to bring Poetry Out Loud to South Carolina high school students.

The National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud with the help of statewide arts partners like the SCAC in all 50 states, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

2022/2023 registration

Deadlines extended! See below for information.

South Carolina partners

The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Visit the Poetry Out Loud website by clicking here.

In 2018, Janae Claxton of Charleston, posing above with then S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May, was the first South Carolina student to win the National Poetry Out Loud competition! (Photo credit: James Kegley/NEA.)  Read more …

Poetry Out Loud 2022/2023

Two tracks. One competition.

To best serve as many South Carolina students as possible, Poetry Out Loud offers school registration (for teachers and their classes, in-person competitions) and individual student registration (a live virtual competition) for those whose school is not participating or are homeschooled.

Deadlines for 2022/2023 were extended, and registration is once again open.

Additional information

2021/2022 State Finalists

South Carolina students in grades 9-12 were invited to submit videos to be judged in twin regional competitions. Those regionals yielded four finalists each to compete in the virtual state finals. The eight finalists came from four schools in Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg.

Emily Allison. Provided photo.

Students from Region 1, roughly the lower half of the state, all come from Charleston County School of the Arts. They are:

  • Tea Allen
  • Kenneth Carrington
  • Natalie Holland
  • Adam Maierle

Finalists from Region 2, which is roughly the upper half of the state, represent three schools. The students are:

  • Emily Allison (Fine Arts Center of Greenville) – state champion
  • Harper Scott (Fine Arts Center of Greenville)
  • Catherine Wooten (Westgate Christian School of Spartanburg)
  • Caleb Xiao, 2021 first runner-up (Spartanburg Day School in Boiling Springs)

Congratulations to these state finalists and to Emily Allison for repeating as state champion!

Did you know…

The various winners of the Poetry Out Loud competitions held in U.S. states and jurisdictions reach their status by reciting the works of others. But you might not know that there’s plenty of original content coming from them. Enter Poetry Ourselves, a companion competition open to the Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions that highlights their original poetry. Each champion had the opportunity to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories—written or spoken

In 2022, Allison represented South Carolina and won the written poetry category!

Poetry Ourselves was launched in 2016 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary as a way to encourage student creativity.

I’m here to help!

For assistance or more information, please contact Poetry Out Loud Coordinator Bonita Peeples (803.734.8692 |