Welcome to 2021 Virginia Poetry Out Loud!

The words of great poets literally come to life in Poetry Out Loud, a literary arts program created by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) supports students across the Commonwealth enriched by this arts education program that encourages memorization, performance and public speaking skills. Since 2005, nearly 4.7 million students have participated in the program and committed at least one poem to memory. In Virginia, approximately 99,000 students have participated since the program’s inception.


Registration is currently closed for 2020-2021.
Registration for 2021-2022 will open in June 2021.


Poetry Out Loud “How To” Guides

The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, created a two part Poetry Out Loud “How To” Guide for poetry memorization. This is resource for students, teachers and organizations who are interested in participating in the Poetry Out Loud program:

  • The “How To” Guide Part 1 provides scaffolding techniques to demystify the memorization process with accessible hands-on activities to empower the voices of youth.
  • The “How To” Guide Part 2 provides insight in the memorization, selection, and performance of two poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology.
General Resources Teachers and Students Resources Competition Resources

Poetry Out Loud Competition Recordings

Regional and state competitions for Poetry Out Loud have all take place.  To view the recordings of these competitions click on the link in the calendar. 

EventDate Recording Link
Regional Competition—Region 4a 3.13.2021 Competition Recording
Regional Competition—Region 5 3.13.2021   Competition Recording
Regional Competition—Region 6 & 3 3.20.2021   Competition Recording
Regional Competition—Region 4B 3.20.2021   Competition Recording
State Finals 3.12.2021 VPM, Virginia’s home for Public Media
Richmond, VA
BROADCAST scheduled Sunday April 11th 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM and Thursday, April 15th @ 8:00 PM.
National POL Semifinals5.02.2021 Virtual Competition Video Submission
National POL Finals 5.27.2021 Virtual Competition Video Submission


Azhane Pollard, a senior at Hopewelll High School in Hopewell, successfully earned the title as state champion for Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud competition.  A modified in person competition was held on Friday, March 12, 2021 at VPM, Virginia’s home for Public Media where nine students from across Virginia competed. Ryan Poquis, from Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico was runner-up.  Chaunti Hatchett from Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School in Manassas was the first runner-up. 

Watch the recording of the event.  Link provided shortly. 


Each winner at the state level receives a $200 and an all-expenses paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up receives $100 with $200 for his/her school library.


For program related questions contact:

Casey Polczynski, PhD
Arts in Education Coordinator
Virginia Commission for the Arts