Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art
form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum
by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class.
The National Endowment
for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with State Arts Agencies of the United States to support the expansion
of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance.
This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary
After successful pilot programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, the second phase of Poetry Out Loud was launched
in high schools across America in the spring of 2006 with tens of thousands of students participating. Last year, over 300,000
students competed. William Farley from Virginia was named National Champion on April 28, 2009.
The program will continue
to grow during the 2009-2010 school year, culminating in the 2010 National Finals in Washington, DC, on April 27, 2010.CONTEST
STRUCTURE AND AWARDS
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners
will advance to the school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.
information about the contest's structure can be found here
Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to compete for the national
championship. The state winner's school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. A runner-up in each
state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the
National Finals will be awarded to the winners.
Awards will be 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.PROGRAM MATERIALS
Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include print and online poetry anthologies, a teachers
guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, an audio CD featuring distinguished actors and writers, promotional
and media guides, and a comprehensive Website. Hard copies of all materials are free for schools participating in the official
program. All curriculum materials are also available for download on the Poetry Out Loud Website. Schools not officially involved
in the official contest are welcome to use the online materials.
While teachers, students, and poetry lovers everywhere
can use this website and its accompanying educational materials to organize their own recitation contests, the official contest
is limited to the programs run by each state's Arts Agency. If you are an educator interested in participating in the official
program, please contact your State Arts Agency
Poetry Out Loud materials are sent to high schools in September, and participating schools run the program through
early winter. (The program requires only two or three weeks of class time.) States will hold their competitions by mid-March.
Following the state finals, the National Finals and Semifinals will be held in Washington, DC, April 26 & 27, 2010.