Washington, DC, and Chicago, ILFor months, students from all across the country have been memorizing and reciting the words of poets such as Tracy K. Smith, Ilya Kaminsky, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, among others, all in the hopes of being named the 2022 Poetry Out Loud™ National Champion, which includes a grand prize of $20,000. The semifinals will be broadcast Sunday, May 1, 2022, at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud.

Recently, Harrison Lynch, a 12th-grade student at the King’s Christian Academy in Callaway, MD, was named the 2022 Maryland Poetry Out Loud champion. Lynch is now advancing to the Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals, which will be broadcast on Sunday, May 1, 2022, on arts.gov. Lynch will compete in the 1st semifinal, beginning at 12:00pm ET / 11:00am CT / 9:00am PT.

After participating in local and state competitions, one student from each of the 50 states, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—55 total—are advancing to the Poetry Out Loud National Semifinals. From those semifinals, nine students will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, broadcast on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud. In total, $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed as part of the national finals.

Visit poetryoutloud.org for the list of the 2022 Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions and their high schools.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. This national program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students, helping them to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

“Congratulations to all of the students who participated in Poetry Out Loud over the past year! Through poetry, these students are developing the insights, confidence, and skills to help shape our world by seeing things from different perspectives, exploring issues of our time, and giving voice to ideas that often seem hard to articulate,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

National Semifinals—Sunday, May 1, 2022

On Sunday, May 1, 2022, the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals will be broadcast through a one-time-only webcast at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud. Each of the 55 champions are recording their poem recitations in advance, which are reviewed and scored by judges with expertise in poetry, performance, and the literary arts. The recitations from all 55 students will be broadcast on May 1 during three regional semifinals, and will include the announcement of the top nine students (three from each region) who will advance in the competition.

  • 12:00pm ET / 11:00am CT / 9:00am PT—Champions from Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • 3:00pm ET / 2:00pm CT / 12:00pm PT—Champions from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  • 6:00pm ET / 5:00pm CT / 3:00pm PT—Champions from Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

National Finals—Sunday, June 5, 2022

On Sunday, June 5 at 7:00 pm ET / 6:00pm CT / 4:00pm PT, poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander will host the 2022 Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which will be available through a one-time-only webcast at Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud. The evening will feature recitations and interviews with the top nine finalists, culminating with the live announcement of the 2022 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

“As students from across the nation compete in Poetry Out Loud, I am awed and inspired by their passion and their connection to the poems recited,” said Michelle T. Boone, president of the Poetry Foundation. “They are proof that poetry is a living art form, embodied by each of these young people. Congratulations to all of the participants, and thank you for sharing your spark with all of us.”

A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends will be awarded at the national finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second-and third-place finalists. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded for Poetry Out Loud. The Poetry Out Loud national finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts. Closed captioning in English and Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided for both the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals and finals.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #POL22 and #IAmPoetryOutLoud and follow the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation at @PoetryOutLoud, @NEAArts, and @PoetryFound.

The Poetry Out Loud state champions also had the opportunity to highlight their own original poetry by competing in the Poetry Ourselves competition. State champions were able to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories: either a written poem or a video of a spoken poem. The winner and runner-up in each category will be selected by poet Chen Chen and announced in late April.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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