Skip to Content

Looks like you're using an outdated browser!

For the best experience browsing our site, please use a modern web browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

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.

2019-2020 Program

December 31, 2019 school registration deadline
February 12, 2020  school competition deadline
February 14, 2020 student champion registration
March 5, 2020 regional semifinal (March 9 snow date)
March 16, 2020  final (tentative)
April 27-29, 2020 national finals in Washington, D.C.

teaching artist visits

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.

New This Year

original poetry awards

The Council is partnering with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center's Scholastic Writing Awards program. Any student from a school participating in Poetry Out Loud may submit at least one original poem for consideration. All work should be entered in the category of Poetry. Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of Vermont poets. There is no cost to participate.

Poems should be submitted by the December 12 deadline; two pieces of student writing will be recognized March 5. Find more information on the Scholastic Writing Awards website.

original poetry workshops

To support students in the writing process, the Council is offering a limited number of in-school residencies with local poets. If you are interested in bringing a poet into your school for a two to three day residency, contact Troy Hickman by email.

Classroom Resources

The national Poetry Out Loud website holds recitation tips, lesson plans and activities, common core standards and more. The POL 2019-2020 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’ Poetry 180 Project, Canada’s Poetry in Voice, or the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day(receive a new poem to explore by email every day.

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.