NEA announces 2022 ‘Poetry Ourselves’ winners

Top prize-winner a familiar name

The various winners of the Poetry Out Loud competitions held in U.S. states and jurisdictions reach their status by reciting the works of others. But you might not know that there’s plenty of original content coming from them.

Emily Allison. Provided photo.

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2022 winners of  Poetry Ourselves, a companion competition open to the Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions that highlights their original poetry. South Carolina is represented by our back-to-back Poetry Out Loud champion, Emily Allison of Greenville.

The 2022 Poetry Ourselves winners are:

Student participants of the Poetry Out Loud program memorize and recite works of classic and contemporary poetry. Recognizing that many Poetry Out Loud participants also create their own work, Poetry Ourselves was launched in 2016 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary as a way to encourage student creativity. Each champion had the opportunity to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories—written or spoken—which were judged by poet Chen Chen.

“By exploring a wide range of poetry through Poetry Out Loud, students can find inspiration to express themselves creatively in other ways,” said Amy Stolls, director of Literary Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts. “Thank you to this year’s Poetry Ourselves winners for sharing their own poetry with us.”

Winning poems are shared through the National Endowment for the Arts’ website at the links above.

Poetry Out Loud national semifinals this weekend!

All 55 Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions will compete in the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals, webcast this Sunday, May 1, 2022 beginning at 12 p.m. ET at The top nine students will move on to the national finals, which will be webcast on Sunday, June 5, 2022, and include the announcement of the 2022 national champion, who will receive a grand prize of $20,000. Visit for full details.

About Poetry Out Loud

A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom/school or at the local level with an area organization. Students memorize and recite poems they select from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. Winners then may advance to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the national finals. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations across the nation have participated in Poetry Out Loud. For more information about Poetry Out Loud and how to participate in the 2022-2023 program, visit