Poetry Out Loud

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

Poetry Out Loud (TM) LogoPoetry Out Loud (POL) is a completely free program that encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. It is presented through the partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

The ArtsPath POL region comprises five counties: Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson, as well as the DuBois Area School District.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's POL competition to determine a national champion will be 100 percent virtual and accomplished through state champion video submissions. All contests occurring prior to the national competition—classroom, school, regional, and state—have various options available to them, to include:

  • In-Person: While POL strongly urges all competition organizers to hold a virtual competition, if an in-person competition is selected, please follow all federal, state, and local guidelines in regard to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Video Submission: Students record their recitations and submit electronically by their competition organizers approved method (email, various file-sharing platforms, etc.).
  • Recording One-on-One: Students meet with the organizer individually through a video platform (such as Zoom or Skype) for their recitation to be recorded. The organizer then sends the recordings to the interpretation judges for critique and scoring.
  • Live Contest on Video Platform: Much like a Zoom or Skype meeting, all contestants and judges are on at the same time, and the competition is run much like it would be in person, with recitations and judging happening in real time, and judges submitting scores to the organizer after each recitation.

For more information on holding your virtual competition, including filming requirements, tips, reminders, and accessibility, see the POL Virtual Competitions and Filming Requirements or get them from the POL website.

Additional and extremely important parts of a virtual competition, and when streaming anything virtually—whether public or privateare permissions and copyright. Be sure to first read the POL Poem Streaming Permissions Guide on securing permissions, and second, email us at artspath-info@iup.edu for the POL Streaming-Copyright Permissions List (Excel spreadsheet) to find the status of your selected poems. If you need to request permissions from the copyright holder, page 2 of the Permissions Guide has an email template you can use.

Because Pennsylvania's state competition will be held virtually through Video Submission, the ArtsPath regional competition will also be held as a virtual Video Submission competition. Your high school's champion will simply submit their three poem recitations as three separate files to ArtsPath for critique by the judging panel. The ArtsPath regional winner will submit their recitations to the state for the state competition.

Register your school by completing the Registration Form and returning it by Friday, January 15. For additional information on the ArtsPath regional or Pennsylvania state contests, download a teacher's email packet.

David "Dj" Gress, Philip Horne, and Susan CorbettWinner David "Dj" Gress, pictured here with Philip Horn, former executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Susan Corbett, the former executive director of Pittsburgh Arts and former First Lady, was the 2012-13 ArtsPath regional winner. From the Kiski School in Saltsburg, Gress also won at the state level and went on to represent Pennsylvania in the Washington, DC national finals.

For more information on Poetry Out Loud, visit the comprehensive POL website, call Jeff Wacker at 724-357-4565, or email us at artspath-info@iup.edu. You can also stay updated by following Poetry Out Loud on the following:

Molly Stoltz with former Governor Ed RendellNational Endowment for the Arts

Poetry Foundation

Poetry Out Loud

About Poetry Out Loud

  • Standards: POL satisfies more than half of theEnglish Language Arts from the National Council of Teachers of English 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.
  • Teachers use the comprehensive POL website, which includes all materials, including all support materials, poems, teachers' guide, media guides, videos, and more.
  • Free, standards-based curriculum materials are available for schools, teachers, and students.

Getting Your School Involved

The 2019 Poetry Out Loud winner with Rep. GablerIndividual 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 ArtsPath regional competition.

What Must Students Do?

  • Choose poems from the hundreds of eligible poems at the POL website to memorize and recite for a class and then 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.

What Must Teachers Do?

Your School's Winner

Each school's winner will participate in the ArtsPath regional competition by:

  1. selecting and memorizing three different poems,
  2. recording their recitation of each, and then
  3. submitting to jwacker@iup.edu via the wetransfer.com file sharing service.

The ArtsPath regional winner will compete with 13 other regional champions in the state competition virtually by video submission on March 8, 2021.

The state winner will receive $200 and compete virtually by video submission for the POL national championship, held in spring 2021. 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.

Additional Questions?

For more information on running a Poetry Out Loud in the ArtsPath service region of Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson counties, call Jeff Wacker at 724-357-4565, or email us at either jwacker@iup.edu or artspath-info@iup.edu.