Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud

Welcome to Poetry Out Loud!

The words of great poets literally come to life in Poetry Out Loud. The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) is excited to partner with The Wayne Theatre serving as the host and administrator of this year’s Poetry Out Loud program. A national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, brings poetry to high schoolers through memorization, performance, and public speaking. Since 2005, nearly 4.7 million students have participated in the program and committed at least one poem to memory. In Virginia, approximately 101,000 students have participated since the program’s inception.


Initial Registration Form

Final Report Form

Note: Please use this map to determine your region.


Poetry Out Loud Registration ClosesNovember 10, 2023
Final Report / Competing Student InformationDecember 8, 2023
Semifinal Competition Information DeadlineFebruary 2, 2024
Semifinal CompetitionsFebruary 10 and February 17, 2024
Poetry Out Loud State FinalsMarch 8, 2024
Poetry Out Loud National CompetitionApril 30 through May 2, 2024


Poetry Out Loud “How To” Video Guides

The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, created a two-part Poetry Out Loud “How To” Guide for poetry memorization. This is a resource for students, teachers, and organizations who are interested in participating in the Poetry Out Loud program:

  • The “How To” Guide Part 1 provides scaffolding techniques to demystify the memorization process with accessible hands-on activities to empower the voices of youth.
  • The “How To” Guide Part 2 provides insight in the memorization, selection, and performance of two poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology.

Tutorial Series: Recording Recitations for Virtual Competitions

Visit the VCA’s YouTube Channel to access videos.

Teachers and Students Resources

Prior Poetry Out Loud recordings can be accessed on the Virginia Commission for the Arts YouTube Channel


Poetry Out Loud

Each winner at the state level receives a $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for 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 for his/her school library.

Evalynn Bogusz, a senior at Heritage High School, won the 2023 competition on Friday, March 10, 2023, at VPM, Virginia’s home for Public Media. She is featured in the photo with VCA Commissioner Frazier Millner Armstrong, Second runner-up Anthony Hernandez, first runner-up Kathryn Price, VCA Executive Director Margaret Hancock, and American Poet Regie Cabico.


For any questions about Poetry Out Loud contact:

Corey Holmes
Poetry Out Loud Coordinator
Director of Education, The Wayne Theatre

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