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Words on Fire

Words on Fire (WOF) is an annual two-day festival that includes DC’s Poetry Out Loud competition, a poetry slam, and a written poetry contest.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national competition that seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry - recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of the oral art form of poetry, as seen in the slam poetry and spoken word movements. The program invites these dynamic aspects into the classroom, where teachers engage students through classroom memorization, performances and competition.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partnered with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) to support Poetry Out Loud, a FREE high school program which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This dynamic program helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage, and compete for more than $100,000 in awards.

The CAH Student Poetry Slam and Written Poetry Contest presents original work by DC’s high school students. Winners for both competitions are announced at the Words on Fire festival.

Words on Fire 2023 | March 11 - 12

Words on Fire 2023 Program

Student E-Anthology 2023

2023 Words on Fire Participating Schools

Bell Multicultural High School
Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
Capital City Public Charter School
Columbia Heights Educational Campus
District of Columbia International School
E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Frank W. Ballou Senior Stay High School
Georgetown Day School
Jah Kente International Inc.
KIPP DC College Preparatory
Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School
St. Anselm’s Abbey School
Washington Latin Public Charter School

2023 Poetry Out Loud Participants:
Kingston Fuller of Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
Caleb Harris of Capital City Public Charter School
Michelle Perez of E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Promise Parraway of Frank W. Ballou Senior Stay High School
Eliana Green of Georgetown Day School
Trinity McMillan of KIPP DC College Preparatory
Silas Alemayehu of Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School
Warwick Lloyd of St. Anselm’s Abbey School
Shayla Greux of Washington Latin Public Charter School

March 11, 2023: Poetry Slam Competition
March 12, 2023: Poetry Out Loud Competition

And The Winners Are...

Poetry Out Loud
1st place: Warwick Lloyd, St. Anselm’s Abbey School
2nd place: Trinity McMillan, KIPP DC College Preparatory
3rd place: Michelle Perez, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

 Slam competition  
1st place: Promise Parraway, Ballou Senior High School
2nd place: Henry Gualip Moran, Columbia Heights Educational Campus
3rd place: Jeremiah Ogunsiakan, Bell Multicultural High School

Written Poetry Contest:
1st place: Navin Desai, Georgetown Day School (p. 116 - 121)
2nd place: Lauren Petrilla, Georgetown Day School (p. 103 - 106)
3rd place: Juliana Lopez, Columbia Heights Educational Campus (p. 55 - 60)




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