Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud

Welcome to Poetry Out Loud!

The words of great poets literally come to life in Poetry Out Loud, a literary arts program created by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) supports students across the Commonwealth enriched by this arts education program that encourages memorization, performance, and public speaking skills. 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.


Registration is now closed.

Poetry Out Loud Competition Calendar

Virtual Video Recitations Monday, January 9, 2023 Links provided to participating students
Virtual Semifinal Competition Saturday, February 4, 2023 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Virtual Semifinal Competition Saturday, February 4, 2023 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Virtual Semifinal Competition Saturday, February 11, 2023 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Virtual Semifinal Competition Saturday, February 11, 2023 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Poetry Out Loud State Finals Friday, March 10, 2023 VPM Studios
23 Sesame Street
Richmond, VA 23235 
Poetry Out Loud National Finals May 8-10, 2023 Washington, DC


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.

General Resources

Teachers and Students Resources

Competition Resources

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


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.

Poetry Out Loud
2023 POL Competition Champion Evalynn Bogusz, a senior at Heritage High School, is featured 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 | Terry Brown, Photo Credit

The 2023 competition took place Friday, March 10, 2023, at VPM, Virginia’s home for Public Media, where Miss Bogusz competed along with eleven other students from across the Commonwealth.

Student competitors included:

  • Aayra Rajashekara | Virginia Beach | Catholic High School
  • Molly Ridgley | Winchester | Independent School of Winchester
  • Maia Zasler | Richmond | Collegiate High School
  • Daniela Vitello | Purcellville | Woodgrove High School
  • Anna Mohanty | Arlington | Washington Liberty High School
  • Mallory Phillips | Richmond | Maggie Walker Governor’s School
  • Cambelle Laskodi | Haymarket | Battlefield High School
  • Natalia Chapel | Norfolk | Norfolk Collegiate
  • Anthony Hernandez | Petersburg | Appomattox Regional Governor’s School
  • Madeleine Munday | Bridgewater | Blue Ridge Christian School
  • Kathryn Price | Richmond | St. Catherine’s School

VPM will broadcast Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud competition on Sunday, April 30 at 4:00 p.m. on VPM PBS, with a repeat on Monday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. on VPM PBS Plus.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with the Virginia Commission for the Arts supports the Poetry Out Loud program fostering the next generation of literary readers through recitation and performance.


For program-related questions contact

Jessica Pedersen
Poetry Out Loud Coordinator
Virginia Commission for the Arts

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