Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a national competition for high school students that encourages them to memorize and recite great works of poetry. It builds on the recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as demonstrated by the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop among our youth.
Participation begins at the classroom level around the country. Teachers organize contests involving one class or a whole school with the winners advancing to the state finals, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. Contestants choose and learn about poems from an extensive online anthology of classical and contemporary poetry while mastering public speaking skills as well as building self-confidence.
The 2014 Poetry Out Loud finalists were: Jake Blankenship from Lyndon Institute, Sam Boudreau from Bellows Free Academy, Olivia Cacciatore from Middlebury Union High School, Elizabeth Cummin from Mount Mansfield Union High School, Maia Gilmour from Brattleboro Union High School, Christian DeKett from St. Johnsbury Academy, Clara Henderson from The Sharon Academy, Marya Merriem from Randolph Union, Basundhara Mukherjee from South Burlington High School, and Anna Van Dine from Harwood Union.
Sam Boudreau from Bellows Free Academy is this year's Poetry Out Loud Vermont State Champion; Elizabeth Cummin from Mount Mansfield Union High School is Runner-up.
Vermont Public Television will broadcast the state finals on Saturday, April 19 at 4 p.m. You can also watch it online any time.
Finalists were selected from the 40 students who recited the work of noted poets at the Vermont Poetry Out Loud Semi-Finals at the Barre Opera House March 14 (watch here).
Photos from the Semi-Finals are in the Council's Flickr stream.
The 53 state champions will gather for the National Semi-Finals on Tuesday, April 29. Nine finalists will advance to the National Finals on Wednesday, April 30, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Both events will be webcast live. See more, including the livestream, here.
Poetry Out Loud Teacher’s Guide
The latest version of the Teacher’s Guide includes tips for making the program a success at your school, optional scoring rubrics, and suggested lesson plans.
Guest artist visits
Request a guest artist visit your school (free of charge) to help students with their recitation skills.
These video clips will help you understand what makes a recitation excellent and what our judges are looking for.
Vermont Poetry Out Loud Facebook page
Like our Facebook page and follow POL updates from around the state and country. Post your own recitation videos and see what the competition is up to.
10 tips for making the program a success at your school
A list of great ideas that can help you make Poetry Out Loud part of the culture of your school.
Poetry Out Loud and the Common Core
POL addresses a number of standards including the Common Core, the Vermont Framework, and the NCTE English Teaching Standards.
A list of Vermont schools currently participating in Poetry Out Loud
If you have any questions about Poetry Out Loud, email Ben Doyle, Arts Education Program Manager for the Vermont Arts Council or call him at (802)-828-3778.
In Vermont, Poetry Out Loud is presented by the Vermont Arts Council in partnership with The Vermont Principals Association and Vermont Public Television.