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Ohio Poetry Out Loud Turns 15, Celebrates New Partnerships

Registration is now open for 2019-20 Ohio Poetry Out Loud (POL).

Now in its 15th year, POL continues to connect high school students to some of the best poetry ever written from a diverse array of poets from around the world and across the centuries.

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, POL is administered in partnership with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. POL encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage and contemporary life.

Teachers, librarians, or administrators register their high schools each year with the Ohio Arts Council and organize contests with one class, several classes, or a whole school. Contests, workshops, and multi-media program materials, including curricula, are free. POL is aligned with Common Core and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards.

Among the schools already registered for the 2019-20 competition are the Ohio State School for the Blind, which is new to the contest this year, and Lima Central Catholic High School, the returning champion school.

Additionally, the Piqua Arts Council in Piqua and the Cuyahoga County Library in Parma will join Ohio POL partners to host regional POL-affiliated events in early 2020. Other regional coordinating partners include ELEMENTZ in Cincinnati, Wild Goose Creative in Columbus, the Marathon Center for Performing Arts in Findlay, and Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville. Partners offer workshops for teachers and school champions and implement semifinals in six regions of Ohio.

Ohio’s POL State Finals are scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2020, at 6 p.m. at the King Arts Complex in Columbus. The winner of the state finals competition will go on to represent Ohio at the POL National Finals held in Washington, D.C., where he or she will compete with other state champions for awards and the title of national champion.

High school teachers are strongly encouraged to register their schools and offer students the chance to develop a lifelong love of poetry on the page and performed onstage.

Registration closes on Dec. 1 at 11:30 p.m.


The nation’s largest youth poetry recitation competition is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council. The Poetry Out Loud program encourages high school students to learn about great poetry, master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence, and study their literary heritage.


Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.


The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Chiquita Mullins Lee, Arts Learning Coordinator

Featured photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts

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