New York Poetry Out Loud
What is Poetry Out Loud?
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with US state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid competition structure that starts at the classroom level. Students memorize and recite 3 poems chosen from the online poetry anthology and are judged in a variety of categories. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.
Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.
Awards are made in the form of lump sum cash payouts, reportable to the IRS. Tax liabilities are the sole responsibility of the winners and their families.
Ways to Participate
Get started by registering with us and start a program in your high school or community. An entity needs at least two students to participate in the national program. Individual or groups of teachers, a school club, the entire school, or an out-of-school program for high school-aged individuals may participate.
Poetry Out Loud (POL) can be a boost in your community and a great addition to your current curriculum or programs. Here are examples of ways you can start a local program:
- English teachers at a school can implement the POL curriculum in their classrooms by setting aside two weeks to analyze and recite poems from the anthology. Each classroom teacher uses the POL rubric to determine a winner who advances to the school contest. The school contest is a mix of ages and skill levels, presented at an all-school assembly with a panel of judges from the community.
- The drama or theater teacher uses POL to help students strengthen public speaking and performance skills. After participating in open mic poetry recitations and mock contests, a school contest is held in the library during lunch. An AP English teacher and the school literacy coach serve as judges.
- A parent volunteer convenes a poetry group after school, under the supervision of a teacher. Students have the opportunity to receive peer feedback and coaching from the teacher on their presentations. The contest is held in a classroom after school, judged by a local community theater director and the school’s writer-in-residence. The winner presents their poems at a faculty meeting to celebrate.
- In a home school group, a single family, or small group of families, recite poetry together. Competing students are scored by at least two non-biased (not family members) judges. The winning students present at the local Rotary Club to celebrate.
- A community-based organization or literary center can build POL lesson plans into their existing programming for after-school or weekend teen workshops. The culminating contest could be held on a Saturday at their local center or meeting room with a public audience including parents, teachers, and friends.
NEW YORK POETRY OUT LOUD PARTNERS
- The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
- The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the best poetry before the largest possible audiences.
- New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, is dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich and diverse cultural resources that are and will become the heritage of New York’s citizens.
- Everson Museum of Art for hosting the state finals.
- The State University of New York for hosting the regional competitions.
- Con Edison for supporting POETRY OUT LOUD in New York City and Westchester County.
- BOA Editions for providing books for the regional competitions and state final.