Poetry Out Loud (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. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud 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.
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. Poetry Out Loud is aligned with Common Core and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards.
Ohio named Austin Smith, a senior at Bexley High School, its 2020 Poetry Out Loud State Champion on March 6, 2020, following the Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Finals. Austin recited "Wide Receiver" by Mark Halliday, "Worth" by Marilyn Nelson, and "The Sun Rising" by John Donne. Hear what Austin had to say about his Poetry Out Loud experience in this interview.
Video by WOSU Public Media
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. A winner from each participating school is invited to compete in a regional semifinal contest. The top scoring students from each semifinal advance to the State Finals competition. First, second, and third place winners at the State Finals receive cash prizes and money for their school libraries. Both semifinals and state finals are free and open to the public.
The winner of the State Finals becomes Ohio’s new Poetry Out Loud state champion and is invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to compete for the title of Poetry Out Loud national champion in the National Finals in Washington, D.C. The national championship prize is $20,000.
Click here for more information about Ohio's Poetry Out Loud contests.
2019 Poetry Out Loud State Finals recap video by Broad & High.
2018 Poetry Out Loud National Finals and Region One Semifinals featuring Ohio Champion Caroline Delaney at 24:17 and at 1:22:54.
Students at the 2017 State Finals share how they prepared for the competition and what advice they'd give to another student interested in Poetry Out Loud. Filmed at the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington by WOSU.
The Ohio POL Teacher Training workshop was filmed at the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. These three videos are designed to give an overview of the Poetry Out Loud program in the classroom.
Visit the official Poetry Out Loud YouTube channel for a variety of video content including past competitions, advice for judges, and tips for teachers and students.
2016 Ohio Champion Thomas Ellison at the 2016 National Finals, reciting "The Delta" by Bruce Bond at 35:40 and "Translations from the English" by George Starbuck at 1:28:58 in Round One Semifinal.
Sarah Binau, 2015 State Champion at 2015 National Finals
Lake Wilburn, 2014 State Champion and Nationals Runner-Up at the 2014 National Finals
Taribo Osuobeni, 2013 State Champion at 2013 National Finals
CHIQUITA MULLINS LEE | Arts Learning Coordinator | 614-728-4455
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