2024 Alaska Poetry Out Loud Competition

High school students from around the state of Alaska traveled to Juneau, AK to participate in the 2024 Poetry Out Loud Alaska State Competition.

The 2024 Alaska competition was held the evening of March 11, 2024 at KTOO 360 Studio. The recording of this year’s competition can be found at https://www.ktoo.org/poetry-out-loud/.

2024 Alaska Poetry Out Loud participants, from left to right: Penelope Richards (Eagle River High School), Mona Koko (West Anchorage High School), Julia Wang (Fairbanks BEST Homeschool), Clark Milstead (Homer High School), Silas Somers (Upstream Learning Glennallen), Eleanor Kandoll (Petersburg High School), Mina Yee (Skagway School), Lumi Fermin (Thunder Mountain High School).

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. By encouraging youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The program and all materials are provided to each partner at no cost. This annual competition is a collaborative project of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Alaska State Writing Consortium, and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Further information about Alaska Poetry Out Loud, go to:Alaska Poetry Out Loud

Each student recited three poems, and are judged on accuracy, dictation, and memorization. The 2024 Poetry Out Loud Alaska State Champion was awarded to Mona Koko from West Anchorage High School. Her recitations included: Once the World Was Perfect by Joy Harjo, i love you to the moon & by Chen Chen, and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Mona Koko of West Anchorage High School – Champion of Alaska Poetry Out Loud 2024

Following Mona, the 2024 runner-up participant is Penelope Richards from Eagle River High School. Penelope recited It was not Death, for I stoop up, (355) by Emily Dickinson, The Mortician in San Francisco by Randall Mann, and Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost.

Penelope Richards of Eagle River High School, runner-up of Alaska Poetry Out Loud 2024

A Special Thanks to Our Team

The Alaska State Council on the Arts and Juneau Arts & Humanities Council work together with other individuals and partners to present Alaska State Poetry Out Loud.  A special “Thank You” to Mikko Wilson, Kelli Burkinshaw, and the team at KTOO Public Media; the Áak’w Kwáan, Sealaska Heritage Institute, Alaska Robotics, Alaska State Council on the Arts Chair Ben Brown, Executive Director Andrea Noble, and Administrative Officer TeShawn Anderson-Johnson.

Additionally, we’d like to extend our gratitude to the Trustees and staff at the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. Also, Thank you to the Alaska State Poetry Out Loud steering group including Qacung Blanchett, Reggie Schapp, Phil Huebschen, and Laura Forbes. Our sincere appreciation goes out to school teachers, librarians, coordinators, and administrators, as well as families and friends of the 2024 Alaska State Poetry Out Loud finalists, who supported these students and their work.

What’s Next

The 2024 Alaska Champion, Mona Koko, will travel to Washington, D.C. for the Poetry Out Loud National Final Competition from April 30 to May 2, 2024. We wish Mona the best of luck and look forward to seeing her on stage in Washington, D.C. We know Mona will represent Alaska well this year.

The full press release can be read here.

Further information on the Poetry Out Loud National Final Competition, go to: www.poetryoutloud.org