Honoring Poetry Out Loud Champions

The 2020 Poetry Out Loud national finals were canceled due to COVID-19, and several state finals were either canceled or held virtually. Poetry Out Loud will honor both the students who won their state Poetry Out Loud competition (state champions) as well as students who advanced to the state finals in states that were unable to hold a competition. Minnesota state champion, Jay Mackbee from Washburn High School in Minneapolis, will receive a $1,000 prize.
 
“Poetry Out Loud is a premiere event to celebrate months of preparation culminating with poetry at center stage, and we share in the disappointment of canceling the national finals,” said Henry Bienen, president of the Poetry Foundation. “We preserved our commitment to recognize the students’ passion and hard work by awarding the prizes in as equitable a way as possible.”
 
In the coming weeks, videos of students reciting a selection of poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology will be released through arts.gov and poetryoutloud.org as well as on Twitter.
 
“From analyzing poems to spending hours memorizing and honing their recitations, we know the extraordinary amount of hard work and personal effort that each student put into the program,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “While we are disappointed not to have a national finals competition this year, we look forward to sharing students’ recitations through this video project and the resumption of the competition next school year.”
 
Minnesota programs began last fall with regional events held in early February and the state competition held at Minnesota State University, Mankato Feb. 26. More than 50 schools across the state registered to participate in this year’s program. For more information, visit www.mnscsc.org/poetry-out-loud or www.poetryoutloud.org.