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 the 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 105,000 students have participated since the program’s inception 20 years ago.


Initial Registration Form

Final Report Form

Note: Please use this map to determine your region.


Poetry Out Loud Registration ClosesNovember 29, 2024
Final Report / Competing Student InformationDecember 14, 2024
Semifinal Competition Information DeadlineJanuary 10, 2025
Semifinal CompetitionsFebruary 8 and February 15, 2025
Poetry Out Loud State FinalsMarch 7, 2025
Poetry Out Loud National CompetitionMay 5 through May 7, 2025


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


POL Milla At States 2 1

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.

Milla Hartford, a senior at Deep Run High School, won the 2024 competition on Friday, March 8, 2024, at the Wayne Theatre, Waynesboro. Also featured from left to right, Eliza Kiser, Nia Epperson (first runner-up), and Erin Klein (second runner-up).





For any questions about Poetry Out Loud contact:

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

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