Welcome to Poetry Out Loud!

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The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with Virginia Commission for the Arts to present Poetry Out Loud.  Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry- recitation and performance.  The program builds on a resurgence of poetry as an oral art form and incorporates the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theatre to help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

About the Program

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 classic and contemporary poems. Poetry Out Loud does not require full class periods.  Classroom studies culminate with a contest in which each student selects and recites a poem.  Classroom winners advance to school-wide recitation competitions, school champions advance to regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will be held in Washington, DC on April 28th & 29th, 2015.


Each winner at the state level receives $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 in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library.  A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals. 

Poetry Out Loud Calendar

School registration and Teacher Resource Packets Request Open August 1, 2014
Deadline for School Registration October 24, 2014
Classroom activities and Class Competitions September – December
School Wide Competitions TBD by School
School Final Report Forms due to VCA for Regional Competition December 17, 2014
Regional Competitions (Areas 1 – 6) January - February 2015
Regional Champion Forms due to VCA for State Final March 2, 2015
State Finals: Richmond, VA TBD  
National Finals: Washington D.C. April 28th & 29th, 2015


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

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