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Poetry Out Loud

POL logo 2 POL Logo 

You’re invited to join other high schools across the country for Poetry Out Loud, the annual national recitation contest for students.

With 2015 being the 10th anniversary of Poetry Out Loud, be sure to register and participate for the chance to be involved in the many special activities at the state and national levels.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

Governor Ed Rendell and 2009 Winner Molly Stoltz

Molly Stoltz, pictured here with Governor Ed Rendell, was the 2009 ArtsPath regional winner. From DuBois Area High School, Stoltz also won at the state level and went on to represent Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C.

Our POL region comprises five counties—Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson—and the DuBois Area School District. Your high school’s champion will participate in the ArtsPath regional finals, and the ArtsPath regional champion will participate in the state finals. The state champion will travel expense free to Washington, D.C. for the national finals.

Our regional finals will be held Monday, February 9, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Upper Grand Lobby of the Performing Arts Center at IUP.

Register your school by completing this form and returning it by Friday, January 16. For additional information on the ArtsPath regional or Pennsylvania state contests, download a Teacher’s E-mail Packet.

For more information on Poetry Out Loud, visit the comprehensive POL website, call Jeff Wacker at 724-357-2787 (ARTS), or e-mail us at

About Poetry Out Loud

  • POL satisfies more than half of the NCTE English Language Arts Standards, as well as at least three Anchor Assessments per the PA Common Core ELA Standards: Speaking and Listening (SL 9-10, SL 12-11), Reading (FL 9-10, RL 11-12), and Language (L9-10, L 11-12).
  • The teachers’ guide suggests ways to customize the program to meet your schedule constraints.
  • Free, standards-based curriculum materials are available for schools, teachers, and students. Teachers receive a guide to help them teach recitation and performance, a CD of distinguished actors and writers reciting and talking about poetry, media guides, and promotional materials.
  • Teachers also have access to the POL website which includes all materials, including all support materials, poems, media guides, and more.

Getting your school involved

Individual or groups of teachers, a school club, or the entire school may participate. Teachers can determine the extent of their participation. For example, they may...

  • Incorporate POL into a unit of study, perhaps culminating in recitations by each student in front of the class;
  • Offer the program as an extra credit project or after-school program’s project; or
  • Use some or all of the lesson plans offered online or in the free teacher’s guide.

Whatever you plan, the end result should be one winner from your school who will participate in the regional contest in February.

What must students do?

  • Choose a poem from the more than 750 eligible poems at the POL website to memorize and recite for a school competition.
  • Recitations may not include properties, costumes, or music.
  • Some gestures and minimal movement may, however, be appropriate to a given poem. Be sure to study the recitation guidelines found online or in the Teacher’s Guide.

Your school’s winner

Each school’s winner will then participate in the regional contest scheduled for Monday, February 9, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Upper Grand Lobby of the Performing Arts Center on the IUP campus. In case of inclement weather, an alternate date of Monday, February 16, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. has been set. Directions and a map of the campus are available.

  • Participants will prepare three poems to recite.
  • The ArtsPath regional winner will compete with 12 other regional champions in the state competition on Monday, March 9, 2015, in the Forum of the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.
    REMINDER: Due to 2015 being the 10th anniversary year for POL, there are a number of activities on Sunday, March 8, 2015, including a tour of the capital, interactive poetry in the Main Rotunda, and an evening dinner.  It’s a great year to be a regional champion in Pennsylvania!
  • The state winner will receive $200 and an all-expense paid trip with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. to compete for the national championship. The winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books. A runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for the school to purchase poetry books.

Logo: Pennsylvania Council on the ArtsThis program is made possible through the AIE Partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency. It is funded by the citizens of Pennsylvania through an annual legislative appropriation and administered regionally by ArtsPath through the College of Fine Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is additionally supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

  • ArtsPath
  • Performing Arts Center, Room 202
    403 South Eleventh Street
    Indiana, PA 15705-1008
  • Phone: 724-357-4565
  • Fax: 724-357-7899
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.