Poetry Out Loud

What is Poetry Out Loud?

Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a national program for high school teachers and students, seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry – recitation and performance. The National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation partner with the State Arts Agencies to bring the Poetry Out Loud program to all 50 states and the US territories.

State Prizes

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the National Finals. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up in each state receives $100; his or her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books.

National Prizes

A total of $50,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends are awarded at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship award for the National Champion.

The deadline to register your shool for Poetry Out Loud is October 30. REGISTER HERE.

Thinking of adding Poetry Out Loud to your curriculum?  Click here to see the additional resources and support the Poetry Center offers.  

Program Structure and Curriculum

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level.  Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.

The curriculum for Poetry Out Loud is designed to fit into a teacher’s busy schedule.  The program takes place over the span of two to three weeks, according to each teacher’s interest and agenda, and does not require full class periods during that time.  Poetry Out Loud satisfies most of the National Council of Teachers of English Language Arts Standards.  In addition to memorizing and performing great poems, students have the opportunity to discuss poetry and – if the teacher wishes to use the supplemental lesson plans – to write poetry of their own.

Each participating teacher/school site will receive a toolkit, which includes a program guide to help teach recitation and performance, an audio guide with selected poems recited by distinguished actors and writers, and print anthologies for students to select their poems—free of charge.

Special Thanks to our Generous Sponsors:




Arizona Board of Regents