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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.

2019 Recap

Congratulations to Arianna Barrios from Arlington Memorial High School; Sam Bulpin from St. Johnsbury Academy; Alyese Caruso-Randall from Bellows Free Academy, Fairfax; Owen Darling from Mount Abraham Union High School; Vera Escaja-Heiss from South Burlington High School; Ada Melton-Houghton from Brattleboro Union High School; Anna Senesac from Rice Memorial High School; Sirena Sawyer from Mount Mansfield Union High School; Adsel Sparrow from Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans; and Eloise Silver Van Meter from Thetford Academy.

Those students had the highest scores in their region at the semifinals held March 8 and advanced to the championship round held March 18, Vermont PBS studios. Sam Bulpin was named runner-up; Vera Escaja-Heiss was named state champion and will progress to the national championship held April 29 - May 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C.


region one candids, region one reciting, region one acknowledgment, region two candids, region two reciting, region two acknowledgment. All by Sam Simon.


Thank you Vermont PBS for video of each of the ten finalists reciting.

Classroom Resources

The national Poetry Out Loud website holds recitation tips, lesson plans and activities, common core standards and more. The POL 2018-2019 Teachers Guide includes a sample class schedule, tips for organizing local contests, optional scoring rubrics, accessibility awareness, and publicity tips.

The Poetry Out Loud Anthology is a list of poems eligible for POL competition, updated yearly; searchable by poem name or by poet name. Other recommended anthologies include The Poetry Foundation's online collection, Billy Collins’s "Poetry 180 Project", National Public Radio’s "The Writer’s Almanac", or the Academy of American Poets' "Poem-a-Day" (receive a new poem to explore by email every day.

The Arts Council funds visiting artist workshops led by dynamic teaching artists in classrooms each year. These visits can inspire students to take positive risks, hone their performance skills, and engage in a new way. The Council aims to fund workshops for any school that applies. Funds are limited, however; register and apply at your earliest convenience.

Poetry Out Loud supports the proficiency-based learning movement happening across the state. Listed in this document—Proficiency-based learning and Poetry Out Loud—are English Language Arts proficiencies and transferrable skills targeted by Poetry Out Loud.

Visit the Vermont Poetry Out Loud Archive and PBS Resources to see previously recorded state championships and explore other local poetry resources.

Thank You!

Poetry Out Loud is supported in part by a generous grant from the George W. Mergens Foundation. We are also grateful to our sponsor, the National Life Group.