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Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national competition for high-schoolers created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program provides pathways for students to explore, memorize, and recite great works of poetry.

Participation in Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level around the country. Teachers engage students through instruction in poetry and performance and organize contests involving one class or a whole school. Winners advance 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.

2018 Calendar

Schools register to participate by December 8, 2017
Champions register for semifinals by February 16, 2018

state semifinal | March 8, 2017
state championship | March 15, 2017*
national finals | April 23-25
*projected date (check back for confirmation)

Classroom Resources

Poetry Out Loud Teacher’s Guide (2016-2017)
The latest version of the Teacher’s Guide includes a sample class schedule, optional scoring rubrics, accessibility awareness, and information about the Common Core Standards.

Poetry Out Loud Online Anthology

A list of eligible poems for POL competitions is updated yearly. The anthology is searchable by poem name or by poet name.

Other Poetry Collections

The Poetry Foundation's online collection provide access to thousands of poems. Use Billy Collins’s "Poetry 180 Project", National Public Radio’s "The Writer’s Almanac", or the Academy of American Poets' "Poem-a-day" email to explore a new poem every day.

visiting artist workshops
The Arts Council funds a limited number of workshops in schools each year led by dynamic visiting artists. These visits can inspire students to take positive risks, hone their performance skills, and engage in a new way. Request a guest artist visit for your school (free of charge) to help students with their recitation skills.

recitation tips
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.

ten 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
Poetry Out Loud aligns with a number of standards including the Common Core, the Vermont Framework, and the NCTE English Teaching Standards. Additionally, lesson plans, writing activities, and other resources are available on the national Poetry Out Loud website.

Vermont PBS Educator Resources

Watch the recorded broadcast of the most recent state championship, view the archive of state final broadcasts, and explore other teaching resources.

2017 Recap

state championship

Congratulations to Runner Up Emily Klar of Lake Region Union High School and State Champion Emily Friedrichsen from Champlain Valley Union High School.


Photographs from the evening of the state championship by Vermont PBS staff.


Thirty-five students competed in March at the Barre opera House in two regional semifinal events. The top five competitors from each region advanced to the state championship.

Congratulations to Aliyah Burr – Burlington High School | Alyese Caruso-Randall – Bellows Free Academy Fairfax | Taite Clark – The Sharon Academy | Jaime DeKett – Saint Johnsbury Academy | Abigail Detrick – Northfield High School | Emily Friedrichsen – Champlain Valley Union High School | Kira Hansen – Mount Anthony Union High School | Emily Klar – Lake Region Union High School | Casey Ober – Mount Abraham Union High School, and Gracie Smith -  Arlington Memorial High School!


region one reciting
region two reciting

region one acknowledgement
region two acknowledgement

participating schools

Thank you to the more than 5,500 students and 140 teahcers from the following schools that made 2017 a memorable year.

Arlington Memorial School
Bellows Free Academy Fairfax
Bellows Free Academy St. Albans
Brattleboro Union High School
Burlington High School
Burr and Burton Academy
Champlain Valley Union High School
Enosburg Falls High School
Essex High School
Fair Haven Union High School
Green Mountain Union High School
Harwood Union High School
Hazen Union School
Lake Region Union High School
Lyndon Institute
Milton High School
Montpelier High School
Mount Anthony Union High School
Mount Abraham Union High School
Mount Mansfield Union High School
Mount Saint Joseph Academy
North Country Union High School
Northfield High School
Otter Valley Union High School
Oxbow High School
Poultney High School
Proctor Jr./Sr. High School
Randolph Union High School
Rice Memorial High School
Saint Johnsbury Academy
Sharon Academy, The
South Burlington High School
Southwest Vermont Career Development Center
Spaulding High School
Thetford Academy
Twin Valley Middle High School
U-32 High School
Vermont Academy
Whitcomb High School
Williamstown Middle High School
Woodstock Union High School