Home » Schools can register for Poetry Out Loud competition

Schools can register for Poetry Out Loud competition

State winner advances to finals in Washington D.C.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2015) — The Kentucky Arts Council has opened registration for the 2016 season of Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the arts council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Haley Bryan won the 2015 state competition as a sophomore at Grant County High School.
Haley Bryan won the 2015 state competition as a sophomore at Grant County High School.

Since starting in 2006, Poetry Out Loud has grown to include participation from more than 365,000 students from 2,300 high schools in 2014-15.

“Poetry Out Loud is an important component of our arts education mission because it exposes students to great literature, allows them to work with some of Kentucky’s fantastic teaching artists and lets the students interpret the poems and perform them on stage in front of family and friends,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “We hope to grow the number of Kentucky participants in this competition in 2016 and see the stage at the Grand Theatre packed with students.”

Poetry Out Loud is often cited in schools’ final reports as evidence for their Arts and Humanities Program Review, which is a state-mandated self-evaluation of a program’s educational effectiveness.

“It gets us out of our comfort zones and allows us to do something different within the curriculum. There are so few times we get to do that,” said Rebecca Graham, an English teacher at Louisville’s Butler High School. “For a school to participate and compete in a literary competition, that’s not something a lot of students get to do.

The program also goes beyond teaching an appreciation for poetry and poets, she said.

“The students get to analyze and understand the poetry, which is important, but they also get the practice of speaking in front of people, which is such a necessary part of life.”

Schools need to register before Oct. 15 to be eligible for the 2016 competition. The contest starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to schoolwide competition, then to the state competition, Feb. 23, 2016, at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort

American Sign Language interpreters will be provided at the state competition.

The winner of the state finals receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up receives $100, with $200 going to his or her school library.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud in Kentucky, contact Jean St. John, arts council education director, at 502-564-3757, ext. 486; or [email protected].