California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

March 10, 2015Caitlin Fitzwater

Media Advisory: 10th Annual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals to take place Monday, March 16th at the State Capitol

With special guest Dana Gioia, award-winning poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

40 California counties participate in largest State Finals in the program's history

SACRAMENTO - Tens of thousands of high school students analyzed, memorized and recited their poems in California, but only a forty will recite in the State Capitol for the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals on Monday.

The California Poetry Out Loud final rounds begin Sunday, March 15 with Round One at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. On Monday, March 16 Rounds Two and Three will take place in the State Capitol in Assembly Room 4202. Monday's finals will be recorded by the assembly multi-media staff and televised on the California Channel (

This year marks the tenth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual state competition - the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in 40 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, March 16, 2015:

WHAT: Poetry Out Loud State Finals

WHEN: 8:00 am, Monday, March 16 (ends at approx. 12:30 p.m.)
10:45 am: Address by Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

WHERE: Assembly Committee Room 4202, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814

WHO: - Special guest Dana Gioia, award-winning poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, founder of Poetry Out Loud
- Judges include former California Poet Laureate Al Young, filmmaker Christopher Coppola

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, Fresno, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, 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 April.  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. 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, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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