Welcome to Poetry Out Loud!

POL Champ
Remka Nwana, 2018 State Champion
Don Mears, Photographer

“I am always amazed at how proud students are at the end of POL.  At the beginning they are so scared, but by the end, they ALL talk about how enjoyable this process was.” (Northern VA area teacher)

Poetry Out Loud is a free program for students in grades 9 through 12 that builds public speaking skills and self-confidence. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Virginia Commission for the Arts to present Poetry Out Loud.

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure beginning at the high school classroom level where teachers implement a two-to-three week curriculum using free, standards-based materials including print and online poetry anthologies containing more than 600 classical and contemporary poems. Poetry Out Loud does not require full class periods and can also be structured as an afterschool program. Classroom studies culminate with a classroom contest with winners advancing to school level, regional and then possibly the Virginia Finals.


Poetry Out Loud registration will be completed through VCA’s new online grants management system. Registration through our grants management system will ensure we are collecting and maintaining accurate program information. All Poetry Out Loud participants will be required to create an account through this system. Once an account is created you will be able to register. The entire process should take less than 10 minutes to complete. You will receive a confirmation email once your registration is submitted.


Regional competitions will take place in January and February of 2019 with the state finals culminating on March 15, 2019. Dates and locations will be updated throughout the summer.

Region 4B Thursday, January 24, 2019 The Candy Factory-The Center for the Arts,
1:00 pm Competition Start
Region 4A Friday, January 25, 2019 Signature Theatre,
1:00 pm Competition Start
Region 6 Friday, February 8, 2019 Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art,
Virginia Beach
1:00 pm Competition Start
Region 3 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 American Shakespeare Center,
12 noon Competition Start
Region 5 RESCHEDULED to Wednesday, Feb. 27 Richmond Performing Arts Alliance,
1:00 pm Competition Start
State Finals Friday, March 15, 2019 The Community Idea Stations, WCVE
11:00 am
ICA Performance Friday, March 15, 2019 Institute for Contemporary Art, VCU Campus
4:00 pm
National Finals April 30 and May 1, 2019 Lisner Auditorium
Washington, D.C.
Time TBA


For any questions related to participation in the official Poetry Out Loud Program contact:
Casey Polczynski
Arts in Education Coordinator
Virginia Commission for the Arts

More Information