On May 1, 2019, state champions competed in Washington, D.C., reciting more poems they’d memorized. What started with over 275,000 students came down to the top three.
The third place finalist, Alejandro J. Campo, recited “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.
You can find more by Arnold in this collection: Dover Beach and Other Poems.
The second place finalist, Scottlyn Ernestine Ballard, recited “Self-Help” by Michael Ryan.
More from Ryan can be found in his New and Selected Poems by Michael Ryan.
The 2019 overall winner, Isabella Callery, recited “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb.
Read more of Lamb’s poetry in The Life And Works of Charles Lamb.
Each student who places in the Poetry Out Loud national finals earns a cash prize. Third place earns $5,000, second place $10,000, and the champion, Isabella Callery has earned a $20,000 prize.
Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, this annual competition gives everyone a chance to read, recite, and listen to poetry for months and months on end. Just when the finalists are announced, the next competition starts to rev up, so maybe you can get in on the action next year.