California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

February 26, 2016Caitlin Fitzwater

11th Annual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals to take place Monday, February 29 at the Capitol

With special guest Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Sacramento -

Poetry Out LoudTens of thousands of high school students analyzed, memorized and recited their chosen poems in California, but only thirty-nine will recite in Assembly Committee Room 4202 at the State Capitol for the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals on Monday, February 29. 

The California Poetry Out Loud final rounds begin Sunday, February 28 with Round One at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. On Monday, February 29 Rounds Two and Three will take place in the Assembly Committee Room 4202 at the State Capitol. Monday's finals will be recorded by Assembly TV and webcast via the California Channel at

This year marks the eleventh time the California Arts Council has produced the annual state competition - the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 35,000 students in thirty-nine California counties participating.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA,) Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

California Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Monday, February 29, 2016:

WHAT: Poetry Out Loud State Finals

WHEN: 8:30 am, Monday, February 29 (ends at approx. 12:30 p.m.)

WHERE: NOTE ROOM CHANGE -- Assembly Committee Room 4202, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814

WHO: Special guest Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, founder of Poetry Out Loud 

Contact: Caitlin Fitzwater, (916) 533-8623 mobile, or

Participating Counties

Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in at the State Finals: Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Inyo, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, 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 and a trip to Washington, DC from the NEA, to compete in the national Poetry Out Loud finals in May 2016.  The winner's school receives $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. 

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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