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Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. POL uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC. More than 100,000 students are expected to take part in POL nationwide each year.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions placed on schools and on teaching artists’ ability to access school buildings and students in-person, the 2021 Poetry Out Loud program will be implemented virtually. Experienced poetry teaching artists will be available to work with you to implement the Poetry Out Loud curriculum to your students in the form of an artist residency via Zoom, or assist you virtually if needed, as you implement the program using methods that best suit you and your classroom schedule. The program will be condensed this year and will culminate in January 2021 with a virtual state final event.

The Delaware Division of the Arts will provide guidance in running your school’s POL program and is happy to answer any questions or concerns.

Previous Competitions

2020 | 2019 | 2018 2017 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006



Poetry Out Loud is a fun, participatory way to teach poetry and meet Delaware’s English Language Arts requirements. Free, standards-based curriculum materials are available for all participating schools. Participating schools also have the opportunity to work with teaching artists who give workshops on poetry recitation for students.

Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include online poetry anthologies, a teacher’s guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, a DVD and companion guide of past national competition performances to use as a learning tool, promotional and media guides, and a comprehensive website located at Curriculum materials are available for download on the Poetry Out Loud website, which can also be used by schools not involved in the official current competition.

Please visit our FAQ for more information about Poetry Out Loud

The Delaware Division of the Arts will provide guidance in running your school’s Poetry Out Loud program and is happy to answer any questions or concerns. Please contact:

Sheila Dean Ross, Program Officer, Arts in Education/Accessibility and Poetry Out Loud Coordinator



Important Dates (subject to change)

Sept. 2020Registration Opens
Oct. 2, 2020Registration Deadline
Oct.– Nov. 2020Classroom Instruction/School Competitions via Zoom
Nov. 30, 2020Deadline to Report School Winners
Jan. 2021Delaware State Competition via Zoom

Round 1 & 2: To be held as a closed adjudicator meeting
Round 3: To be open to invited guests, more information to come

Apr./May 2021National Competition (virtual)

Power of Poetry

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