Modeled after the national Poetry Out Loud competition and the Scholastic Writing competition, high school students will have the opportunity to submit original poems with the intent of reciting their poetry during the Vegas Valley Book Festival in October.

Students will be asked to present three original poems to be judged by a panel consisting of poets, authors, educators and other community members. Panelists will use a scoring rubric to assign numerical values to the evaluation criteria. The top three highest scoring students will determine first, second and third place.

The evaluation criteria includes: physical presence, voice and articulation; originality and personal voice; communicating meaning of poem; overall composition and overall performance.

There will be three presentation rounds. All students will present one poem in the first round. The top six students will present in the second round. The top three students will present in the third round to determine first, second and third place. Scores will be cumulative.

1st Place – $300 cash award
2nd Place – $200 cash award
3rd Place – $100 cash award

Competition opens July 1, 2016.
Student Submission Deadline: Sept. 30, 2016.

Recitation Panel & Awards:
Saturday, October 15, 2016, 1 pm – 2:30 p.m.

Vegas Valley Book Festival, Historic Fifth Street School, Downtown
401 South Fourth Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101

All high school aged students (grades 9 – 12) who are residents of Clark County, Nevada.

Poetry Guidelines:
Types of poems that may be submitted: Writing in verse. May include prose poetry, free verse, structured poetry (sonnets, sestinas, tankas, cinquians, villanelles, etc.) and spoken word.

Poems must be typed on an 8.5” x 11” page with a 1.5” margin, single spaced, no smaller than 11 point print. Please use a plain block font like Arial or Calibri. At the top of the page, include the title of the poem and your name. Typed poems must be saved and submitted as an Adobe Acrobat .PDF document.

Recitation of Poems: Students may recite only the poems they submitted with their registration form. Substitutions will not be permitted.

Submittal Information

To download the guidelines, click here.
To download a Word Document Registration Form Click here.

Once you have completed process of registering, poems may be submitted via email, postal mail, or hand delivered to the Nevada Arts Council office.

EMAIL SUBMISSIONS: Must be received by 11:59pm. Please put “Spark (Your name)” in the subject line of the email. Email to:

FAX SUBMISSIONS: must be received by 11:59 p.m. on September 30, 2016. (702) 486-3887