California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

March 20, 2014Caitlin Fitzwater

MEDIA ADVISORY: California Poetry Out Loud State Finals Take Place Monday, March 24th in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol

Judges include California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, Filmmaker Christopher Coppola, and Poet and Arts Leader Frances Phillips

Record number of counties participating this year

SACRAMENTO - Tens of thousands of high school students analyzed, memorized and recited their poems in California, but only a few dozen will stand on the state Senate floor in the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals on Monday.

The California Poetry Out Loud final rounds begin Sunday, March 23 with Round One at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. On Monday, Rounds Two and Three will take place in the state Senate Chamber and be recorded by the senate multi-media staff and televised on the California Channel (

This year marks the ninth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual competition - the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in 35 California counties participating. The program encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

California Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Monday, March 24, 2014:

  • WHAT: Poetry Out Loud State Finals
  • WHO: Judges include California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, filmmaker Christopher Coppola, and poet and arts leader Frances Phillips
  • WHEN: 8:10 a.m., Monday, March 24 (ends at approx. 12:30 p.m.)
  • WHERE: Senate Chamber, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Contact: Caitlin Fitzwater, (916) 324-6617 office, (916) 533-8623 mobile, or

The California Arts Council's 2014 California Poetry Out Loud state finals are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and PAH Nation.

To learn more about the students and the poems they will recite, view the complete program booklet at this link:

Participating Counties

Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in the state Capitol: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

About Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud State Finals is California's culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee). The California Poetry Out Loud champion will win $200 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and a trip toWashington, DC to compete at the national finals in April, with the winner's school receiving $500 for poetry books. The California runner-up receives $100 from the NEA, with his or her school receiving $200 for books. At stake for the national finals is approximately $50,000 in scholarships and related winnings.

Public Attendance

As space will be limited, members of the public interested in attending the competition should contact Poetry Out Loud coordinator Kristin Margolis at More general information, including a list of poems the students may choose to recite, can be found at


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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Wylie Aitken, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Christopher Coppola, Donn K. Harris, Charmaine Jefferson, William Turner, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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