Welcome to Poetry Out Loud in New York!
Registration for 2022 Poetry Out Loud is NOW OPEN!
What is Poetry Out Loud?
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition, open to students in grades 9-12. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with US state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.
Teachers & Writers Collaborative manages Poetry Out Loud in New York state, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts.
See our FAQs about the 2020-2021 POL Virtual Competition.
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid competition structure that starts at the classroom level.
Preliminary Competitions at Schools and for Independent Students Classroom
Schools conduct classroom and school-wide competitions to identify 1 or 2 POL champions to represent the school at the Semifinals.
Students participate in one of the 9 Semifinal competitions, according to their region. The winner and runner-up of each Semifinal competition will move on to compete in the New York State Final.
State Final and National Final
Winners and runners-up from the Semifinals will compete at the State Final. The New York State POL Champion will move on to compete in the National Poetry Out Loud competition.
How to Coordinate Poetry Out Loud in New York State
Poetry Out Loud is not intended to replace classroom activities like creative writing. In fact, the two naturally complement each other. For that reason, Poetry Out Loud has created a number of optional writing activities and lesson plans for teachers. Visit the Poetry Out Loud website for the lessons.
How to Participate in Poetry Out Loud in New York State
To prepare for the Poetry Out Loud program, watch these National Final recitations and evaluate the strengths (and weaknesses!) of each, according to Poetry Out Loud evaluation criteria. Discuss the merits of these performances, which ones you like best and why and how the poems are different when read versus recited. Visit the Poetry Out Loud YouTube Channel and review the Judge's Guide to best support your performances!
Calendar of Events
September - November 2021
Schools register to participate in Poetry Out Loud and begin school wide competitions.
Students whose schools are not participating in Poetry Out Loud register as independent participants.
Dates announced for Semifinal and State Final competitions.
Deadline for schools or students to register: Monday, November 15, 2021
Schools hold school-wide competitions to select their POL champions
*All students competing in a virtual competition must complete a Media Release Form in order for their video submissions to be considered.
January & February 2022
The Poetry Out Loud 2022 New York State Semi-final Regional Competitions will be live/in-person. Please see below for a list of regional competition locations, the event dates are still TBA. We will also be offering schools the option to participate in Semi-finals virtually.
2021-2022 Poetry Out Loud Regional & Semi-Final Dates & Times:
Western and Central New York: TBA
North Country, Mohawk and Hudson Valleys: TBA
Capital District: TBA
New York City: TBA
Long Island (Nassau): TBA
Long Island (Suffolk): TBA
New York State Final Competition: Date TBA
About the Virtual Semi-final Competition
We want to give every student an opportunity to participate in Poetry Out Loud in a way that is safe, fair and fun! We will host 8 live semi-final competitions and 1 virtual semi-final competition.
We will share complete guidelines on how to participate in the Virtual Semi-final competition by December 2021. In the meantime, here is a summary of what to expect:
- By the competition deadline, students will submit three (3) video recordings of themselves reciting their POL poems.
- As in past competitions, there will be 3 rounds of recitation to arrive at the winner. View the complete rules for details.
- The recitation recordings must adhere to the guidelines we will provide to ensure that all recordings are consistent in quality. We will also provide technical assistance to anyone who needs it.
- the online poetry anthology (please also note the list of poems that are eligible for the official POL competition)
- a comprehensive teacher’s guide
- videos of student performances
- lesson plans, and promotional and media guides.
- 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.
To view all the 2020-2021 Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition videos, visit the T&W YouTube Channel.
The 2021 Poetry Out Loud New York State Final Competition was broadcast on Saturday, March 13, 2021. Twelve talented students took the virtual stage to recite classic and contemporary poems for the chance to represent New York as our Poetry Out Loud State Champion. The winner will move on to compete with other state champions from across the country for $50,000 in prizes.
Rachel Lin, Syosset High School
2021 NYS Poetry Out Loud Champion
Zaida Polanco, White Plains High School
On behalf of Poetry Out Loud, thank you to all of the students, school coordinators, parents, judges, and others who made the Poetry Out Loud possible this year!
View the event program for a list of students participating and their poems.
2020 New York State Poetry Out Loud Champion!
From a competitive field of more than 6,500 students across the state, Zaida Polanco from White Plains NY, won the title of 2020 Poetry Out Loud™ NY State Champion at the state finals held at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City on March 7, 2020. The first runner-up was Mekhala Mantravadi from Horace Mann School in New York, NY. Zaida Polanco’s final recitation was How to Triumph Like a Girl by Ada Limón. In the poem, Limón celebrates the power of women and girls.
Bring a virtual POL poetry-writing program to your school or community center.
In our workshops, students create original poems inspired by the poems in the POL collection. Through this creative practice, student deepen their comprehension and personal connection with the POL poems.
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. Please register by November 15, 2021.
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.