Welcome to Poetry Out Loud in New York!
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 diverse poets and their work. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with U.S. 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.
Register Students for 2024 Regional Semifinals
Each school may advance up to 2 students to the NYS Regional Semifinals held in February 2024. Semifinal dates and locations will be announced here as details are confirmed. Students may be registered at the link below.
Student Registration Deadline for Semifinals: January 13, 2024
This registration is only for students who either 1) have advanced to the NYS Semifinals through their registered school or community organization or 2) have registered for NYS Poetry Out Loud as an independent participant.
2024 NYS Regional Semifinals and Final
We will continue in-person programming for the 2024 Poetry Out Loud Semifinal and State Final competitions. In addition to the live/in-person semifinals, we are offering schools the alternative to participate in a virtual semifinal (students will be asked to submit video recordings of their performances). Semifinal events will take place in February and will be updated here as details are confirmed.
New York State Regional Semifinals
Capital Region - TBA
Hudson Valley - TBA
Long Island/Nassau - TBA
Long Island/Suffolk - TBA
New York City - Group A - TBA
New York City - Group B - TBA
Syracuse - TBA
(Westchester/Lower Hudson Valley) Hudson Valley Writers Center - Feb 7th, 6pm
Western New York - TBA
(Statewide) Virtual - Streaming TBA
New York State Final
New York City (Location TBA) - March 9, 2024
Register for New York State Poetry Out Loud 2024
We will continue in-person programming for the 2024 Poetry Out Loud Semifinal and State Final competitions. In addition to the live/in-person semifinals, we are offering schools the alternative to participate in a virtual semifinal (students will be asked to submit video recordings of their performances). The state final competition will be held in New York City in March 2024.
School Registration Deadline: November 17, 2023
Student Registration Deadline for Semifinals: January 13, 2024
NEW YORK STATE FINAL: Saturday, March 9, 2024
Congratulations to the 2023 New York State Poetry Out Loud Winners!
New York State Poetry Out Loud Champion
James Masson, Syosset High School
Moses Usen, Cornwall Central High School
James Masson will go on to represent New York State at the Poetry Out Loud Nationals in Washington, D.C., May 8-10th. Watch him in the one-time only broadcast of the National Semifinals on May 9th, 9am at: Arts.gov/Poetry-Out-Loud. For more information, visit poetryoutloud.org.
Both the winner and runner up of the 2023 State Final won cash prizes for themselves and for their schools to purchase poetry materials. In addition, all of the state finalists received a gift of a full year subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine and copies of The Best American Poetry 2022, courtesy of Simon & Schuster. See the New York State Final Program for a full list of the 20 State Finalists and the schools represented.
What are students saying about POL?
“This experience has greatened my admiration for poetry, connected me with wonderful poets, and boosted my self-esteem. Truly an experience of a lifetime.”
— Lehakoe Tserane, 2023 POL Contestant
“Poetry Out Loud gave me the opportunity to think about and analyze what poetry means to me. By getting to take the poems apart line by line, stanza by stanza, and in some cases even word by word and then apply them to my experiences/world view (while also honoring the poet) was very impactful, inspirational, and really resonated with me.”
— Joslan Carter, 2023 POL Contestant
“Doing Poetry Out Loud has made me feel like so many things are obtainable. I’ve memorized and performed poems, even though it was difficult and I was scared. I tried something new and I had so much fun!”
— Emily Scherl, 2023 POL Contestant
“Poetry Out Loud has helped me to appreciate and discover different poems and poets. I have greatly improved my literary analysis skills through this experience. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this celebration of poetry!”
— Laurel Muench, 2023 POL Contestant
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 diverse poets and their work. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with U.S. 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 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.
School coordinators or others organizing a local POL competition should familiarize themselves fully with the rules of Poetry Out Loud at these links:
Legal Participation Requirements: No student may be excluded from participating in Poetry Out Loud on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. Schools may determine eligibility for classroom and school level Poetry Out Loud programming pursuant to local and state law.
Prize Requirements: The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded in Poetry Out Loud. State champions and runners up will need a valid tax identification number or social security number at the time that monetary prizes are issued by the Poetry Foundation. Prizes are not transferable.
For State semifinal and final competitions, students must prepare three (3) different poems selected from the official Poetry Out Loud Anthology, searchable online at poetryoutloud.org. The three poems must meet the following criteria:
One poem must have been written BEFORE the 20th century.
One poem must be UNDER 25 lines.
The online Poetry Out Loud Anthology has filters for "Pre 20th Century" and "25 Lines or Fewer" that make it easy to find poems that meet these criteria.
NOTE: While the same poem may fit both requirements (eg. the poem is under 25 lines and written before the 20th century), the students must still prepare three different poems -- one distinct poem for each round of competition. During a live/in-person competition, all students will perform two poems of their choice. Students with the highest scores will move on to a final round of performance. Students choose in what order they wish to recite their poems.
Any school or community organization with at least 2 students can participate in the State Semifinals.
- 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.
Calendar of Events
September - November
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 is usually in November.
Schools hold school-wide competitions to select their POL champions and register them for the Semifinals
January & February
Students who will be representing their schools in the Semifinals or who will be competing independently register for the Semifinal competitions.
New York State Final Competition!
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! To ensure student safety, the 2021 and 2022 Poetry Out Loud competition in New York State were held VIRTUALLY, with students participating by video submission. The National Poetry Out Loud competition was also submission-based.
Here is a summary of what took place:
- By the competition deadline, students submitted three (3) video recordings of themselves reciting their POL poems.
- As in past competitions, there were 3 rounds of recitation to arrive at the winner. View the complete rules for details.
- The recitation recordings adhered to the guidelines provided to ensure that all recordings are consistent in quality.
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.