Teenagers from every state on state for a poetry recitation contest.

Poetry Out Loud

A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4 million students and 65,000 teachers from 16,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud. Visit poetryoutloud.org for more information. If you are interested in participating in the official program, please contact your state arts agency.

Watch recitations from our 2020 Poetry Out Loud student champions.

Information on 2020-2021 Poetry Out Loud

In order to ensure the safety and health of participating students and staff, the 2021 Poetry Out Loud (POL) National Finals will be held virtually in lieu of holding them on-site in Washington DC as previously planned. This decision is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and General Counsel for the National Endowment for the Arts. At this time, the dates for the virtual 2021 National Finals are still to be determined, but will take place in the Spring as a video submission-based competition. When more details are available, they will be shared with the POL community-at-large. 

For guidance regarding POL virtual competitions, please reference the POL Virtual Competitions and Filming Requirements document. We strongly encourage teachers and organizers at all contest levels to hold virtual competitions for the 2020-2021 POL season. This appeal is made to ensure the safety and well-being of students, parents, teachers, and everyone involved with POL. Any organizer who declines to hold a virtual competition, and elects to hold an in-person contest, must follow all federal, state, and local guidelines in regard to slowing the spread of COVID-19. This may include wearing masks, enforcing social distancing measures, hand sanitizing, and ensuring participants and guardians are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19 prior to attending, and while participating in, a POL event.

New Study on Impact of Poetry Out Loud

Line by Line: Transforming Student Lives and Learning with the Art of Poetry presents findings from an evaluation of Poetry Out Loud that involves data collection from ten sample schools assessing the program’s impact on  poetry appreciation and engagement, social and emotional development, and academic performance. A fact sheet summarizing the results is also available