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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, including limited access to school buildings and working with students in-person, the 2021 Poetry Out Loud program is being implemented virtually, with one-on-one coaching and closed adjudication sessions. Students are practicing at home, and will videotape their recitation for remote adjudication by a panel of judges, selected for their background in literature, poetry, and theater. The state winner will be announced in early March.

This year’s participants include:

Janelle Carter
Lia Dougherty
Julie Griswold
Shalom Ighodaro
Taylor Jenkins
Praise McConomy
Katelynne Megginson
Ty’Leigha Owens
Ruth Praveen
Rebecca Wisniewski
Delaware Valley Classical School
Sanford School
Tatnall School
MOT High School
Seaford Senior High School
Red Lion Christian Academy
Sussex Central High School
Woodbridge Senior High School
Mount Sophia Academy
Milford Senior High School


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
Feb. 25, 2021DE State Competition
Rounds 1 & 2: To be held as a closed adjudicator meeting via Zoom
Mar. 2, 2021DE State Finals
Round 3: To be held as a closed adjudicator meeting via Zoom
May 2, 2021Poetry Out Loud National Semi-finals
May 27, 2021Poetry Out Loud National Finals

Power of Poetry

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