Welcome to 2021 New York Poetry Out Loud!
This year, all Regional New York competitions, the New York State Final and the National Poetry Out Loud Finals will be VIRTUAL.
Please join our Poetry Out Loud mailing list for:
- Guidelines and the latest updates on participating in virtual regional semifinals
- Information about online student workshops and other materials to help students prepare for competition.
- Resources for Poetry Out Loud school coordinators
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.
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 10 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.
Calendar of Events
September - November 2020
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 16, 2020
Schools hold school-wide competitions to select their POL champions
Preliminary competition for students registered independently
January & February 2021
Deadline for schools to submit the names of their school champions: Monday, January 4, 2021.
Virtual Regional Semifinal Competitions
New York State Final Competition.
About the Virtual Regional Semifinal Competitions
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 share complete guidelines on how to participate in the Virtual Semifinal competitions by December 2020. In the meantime, here is a summary of what to expect:
Prior to the competition, students will submit a video recording of themselves reciting their POL poems.
Each Semifinal competition will be broadcast online, and judges will score recitations in real time, as the poems are aired.
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.
A Message from the New York State Poetry Out Loud Coordinator
Thank you so much for your expressed interest in Poetry Out Loud (POL)!
Here is a link to register your school. Once you’re registered, I will email you the planning and promotional materials currently available for the contest.
All registered schools are encouraged to select 1-2 teachers to coordinate the school-wide contest, to recruit other teachers/classes to participate and to be the POL delegate between T&W and the school. Preparation for class and school recitation competitions can typically run between 3-4 weeks. However, it is also possible to run a program in a 1-2 week period with short, daily POL lessons.
For classroom contests, students are expected to recite 1 poem from memory, 2 at the school-wide final and 3 at the regional, state and national finals. For your school contest, you’ll need an emcee, judges, a prompter and a score tabulator. The Teacher’s Guide and Judge’s Guide provide a comprehensive breakdown of each competition phase and goes into detail about how to create classroom and school wide competitions. Resources include a sample POL class schedule and printable materials such as student certificates. The guides even provide tips and communication templates (PR tool kit) to advertise your school’s POL competition and raise school spirit. Regional competitions will occur between January and February 2021.
All classroom and school wide contests have internal deadlines/timelines, so their dates and times are to your community’s discretion. However, the winning students’ names, poems and poem order will be required by January 1, 2021 (sending their information in before your school’s winter break is preferred).
*We will also host an additional Preliminary competition this year for high school-aged students who are not affiliated with a school or whose school is not registered. Please be sure if you are a student who is interested in participating and are enrolled in a New York State high school, to contact a teacher or school official in order to bring POL to your school.
I hope this information helps to get you started. If you’d like to schedule a call to learn more about Poetry Out Loud, I’d be happy to coordinate a time via phone or continue corresponding through email. We are very excited to have your school community join us this year for Poetry Out Loud!
Amanda Volel, NYS Poetry Out Loud manager
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 December 1, 2019.
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.