As Poetry Month comes to a close, there's no shortage of word-centric events left to check out. Here are a few highlights:

Poetry Out Loud

Competing for a $20,000 grand prize, the high school students in the Poetry Out Loud national finals take turns reading already established poems with emotion and nuance. The event takes place tonight and tomorrow night at the Lisner Auditorium.

Billy Collins reads at the Folger Library (Steven Kovich).

Billy Collins

The much-loved former Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, is at once gifted and accessible. Conjuring up images and a sense of wonder, his books are well-suited to both warm blankets and porch swings, depending on the season. The amiable poet will read from his own work at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation tonight!.

Natasha Trethewey

The current Poet Laureate is finishing up her tenure with a lecture titled "Necessary Utterance: Poetry as Cultural Force." As her own work explores race and her own mixed heritage, her discussion of poetry's role in society will likely be informed by America's racial history. She'll be speaking at the Library of Congress on Wednesday.

"Before There Is Nowhere To Stand"

Grappling with the longstanding conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, the recent book "Before There Is Nowhere Left To Stand" features poets' takes on the divisiveness. On Tuesday, poets Grace Beeler, Shweta Sen, and others will read from the book at Montgomery College in Rockville.