Central Minnesota students to compete in national poetry contest

CLC Central Lakes College Entrance Exterior.jpg
Central Lakes College entrance. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

High school students from central Minnesota schools will compete in a Poetry Out Loud regional competition Monday, Feb. 3, in Brainerd, vying for a chance to represent the state of Minnesota in the national competition in Washington, DC.

The competition begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Dryden Theatre at Central Lakes College. The event will end with an award ceremony at 7:30 p.m. A schedule for the day, and for all regional competitions, is available at .

Regional competitions are free events. All are welcome to attend and show their support for the students.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. High school students throughout the country participate, learning about great poetry through memorization and performance. They master public speaking skills and build self-confidence while learning about literary history and contemporary life. The program also helps schools meet language arts education standards.

In April, one student from each state will win an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national Poetry Out Loud championship. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the national champion, $10,000 for the student who wins second place, $5,000 for the third-place winner, and $1,000 for fourth through ninth place winners. The schools of each of the top nine finalists receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials.


Last year, Isabella Callery of Northfield represented Minnesota and won the 2019 Poetry Out Loud National Championship. She is the first Minnesotan to have earned this national title.

The South Central Service Cooperative in North Mankato coordinates the program, with financial support from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Since the program began in 2005, more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Out Loud takes place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands.

More about the national Poetry Out Loud program is available at

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