Welcome to Poetry Out Loud!

Poetry Out Loud | LogoPhoto Credit Chris Poupore
Annie Lee, 12th grader (John Handley High School)

In its 10th anniversary year, over 10,800 high school students across Virginia delved into great classical and contemporary works of poetry revisiting the arts of recitation and memorization through Poetry Out Loud. This national program encourages students to learn poetry through performance, public speaking, and memorization. Brandon Gonzalez, a 12th grader at Colonial Forge High School (Stafford), and Poetry Out Loud participant said, “Each poem has its own unique interpretation. The beauty of reciting poetry is that every person has to discover what the poem is saying to them.”

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.

This year VCA partnered with The Community Idea Station WCVE and the Virginia Education Association (VEA) to record and broadcast The Virginia Finals. Eleven students from across the Commonwealth advanced to the state championship, which took place on March 13th. In Richmond, Virginia, Ahkei Togun, an 11th grader from Virginia Beach earned the honor of representing Virginia in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals taking place in Washington, DC on April 28 – 29. To view a webcast of the Poetry Out Loud National Finals online visit http://arts.gov/partnerships/poetry-out-loud-national-recitation-contest/webcast-national-semifinals-and-finals.

For more information about the regional and state competitions visit the Champion Spotlight 2015 page. To view a broadcast of The Virginia Finals, refer to the Poetry Out Loud calendar below for station affiliates, dates and times.

Awards

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

Registration will re-open- August 2015  
WCVE Richmond PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud- The Virginia Finals Thursday, April 9 @ 9:00 pm Monday, April 13 @ 11:00 pm
WCVW Richmond PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud- The Virginia Finals Sunday, April 12 @ 4:00 pm
WHTJ Charlottesville PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud-The Virginia Finals Thursday, April 9 @ 9:00 pm Monday, April 13 @ 11:00 pm
WHUT Washington PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud- The Virginia Finals Sunday, May 10 @ 8:00 am
Friday, May 15 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 16 @ 1:00 pm
WBRA Roanoke PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud-The Virginia Finals Sunday, May 17 @ 3:00 pm
WHRO Norfolk PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud- The Virginia Finals Sunday, April 26 @ 2:00 pm
WVPT Harrisonburg PBS Broadcast of Poetry Out Loud-The Virginia Finals Thursday, April 23 @ 8:00 pm
National Finals: Washington D.C.Webcast available Online, here. April 28th & 29th, 2015

Contact

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
casey.polczynski@vca.virginia.gov
804.225.3132

More Information