New Mexico Arts

Speak your mind! New Mexico Arts looking for high school students to compete in Poetry Out Loud 2024

September 25, 2023

Greg Gurule

Santa Fe, NM – Poetry Out Loud (POL) is looking for this year’s competitors! POL is a national arts education program dedicated to helping students engage with poetry and hone public speaking skills. It’s made possible through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and state arts agencies across the country. The program wraps up in poetry recitation competitions, first locally and then at the national level. Earlier this year, Rutenda Musharu from Montezuma represented New Mexico in the national competition in Washington, D.C. for the 2022-2023 competition. 

 “Through Poetry Out Loud, students discover great poetry while also learning about themselves, world history, contemporary life, and the power of words. Through their participation in the program, they have the opportunity to build important public speaking skills, increase self-confidence, and build appreciation for different world views and styles of expression,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “We are grateful for the work of New Mexico Arts in making this opportunity available to students throughout New Mexico.” 

 In our state, POL is managed by New Mexico Arts (NMA) and is an opportunity to connect students and educators with national resources for the arts, foster a deeper connection with the written word, and strengthen community ties throughout New Mexico.   

 POL is available to schools as well as non-school organizations, like school clubs, libraries, and non-profit organizations. Schools and organizations will have access to free curriculum materials, including a poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, and more, through   

 Once they have registered, participating schools and organizations are invited to hold classroom and school contests from September to December 2023. Winners of these local contest will then advance to a state competition on Sunday, March 3, 2024.  

 State champions will advance to the national finals, which are scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., April 30–May 2, 2024, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.  

 How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud 

High schools and organizations should contact NMA by November 3. NMA will ensure participants are included in the official program. Participants not in the official program may conduct their own contests using the online resources. For more information, contact Kevin Lenkner (New Mexico Arts) at 505 412-5791 or visit. (For media inquiries, contact Brandon Brown at (505) 412-3559 or  

 Poetry Out Loud awards 

Each state champion will receive $200 and will advance to the national championship, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The school or organization representing the state champions will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for their school or organization. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit 

 About the National Endowment for the Arts 

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the 

philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more. 

 About the Poetry Foundation 

The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. We work to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience, and share poetry. Follow the Poetry Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter), and Poetry magazine at @PoetryMagazine. 

 About New Mexico Arts 

New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, is the state arts agency.  New Mexico Arts administers the state’s One Percent for Public Art program, awards grants to nonprofit organizations for arts and cultural programs in their communities across the state, and provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for organizations, artists, and arts educators throughout New Mexico. 


Related Photos

Poetry Out Loud

Back to Press Release List »