Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest is sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with state arts agencies, such as the PA Council on the Arts, across the United States. Poetry Out Loud (POL) encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

The 2017 Regional Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest took place at 10 a.m. on Saturday February 4 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Avenue). The snow date was Saturday February 11. Check back for 2018 dates. More information is available in the documents below.


Poetry Out Loud was created in 2005. Since that time, more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from over 10,000 schools in every state, Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico have participated! Last year, 122 schools across Pennsylvania participated in the 2016 Regional Competitions for Poetry Out Loud--a new record!

Why is there so much participation and enthusiasm? Because the program works! Through a memorization, recitation, and contest format that starts at the classroom level and pyramids through school, regional, and state competitions students become engaged by and excited about poetry!

Some reasons why POL is so successful:

  • It can be run in as little as 2-3 weeks at the school level and does not require full class periods.
  • All program materials - poetry anthology, teacher's guide, DVD, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides - are free and are provided online with hard copies also available.
  • Studying literature, including poetry, addresses at least three Anchor Assessments as per the PA Core ELA Standards: Speaking and Listening (SL. 9-10, SL 12-11), Reading (RL. 9-10, RL 11-12), and Language (L. 9-10, L 11-12).
  • The process helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

PF/PCA’s Arts in Education and POL service region includes Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, and Washington counties.

Please note that community organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, can also participate in Poetry Out Loud.

If you’re interested in participating next year, but have some questions please feel free to contact Mary Brenholts, Director of Artists in Schools & Communities, at mbrenholts(at)pfpca(dot)org or 412-361-0873, ext 368.

Poetry Out Loud 2015-2016

The winner of Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA)'s 2016 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud, Greer LeRoy from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, was named the Pennsylvania State Champion and competed at the National Finals for Poetry Out Loud, held May 2-4 in Washington D.C. at George Washington University.

Poetry Out Loud 2014-2015

The winner of Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA)'s 2015 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud, Drew Praskovich from Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, participated in the 10th Anniversary Poetry Out Loud Pennsylvania state-wide competition in March. Find out more about the Finals competition here on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts website.

More about how Drew made it to the finals...

On February 7, 2015 six high school students, senior Bennett Grefenstette from Seton-La Salle Catholic High School, junior Ivan Gunn from Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School, senior Savannah Stewart from South Fayette High School, freshman Madeline Macek from Fox Chapel Area High School, sophomore Sophie Thompson from Avonworth High School, and senior Drew Praskovich from Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, participated in the 2015 Regional Poetry Out Loud Contest held at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room.


At PF/PCA’s 2015 Regional Competition, Drew Praskovich recited “Cadillac Moon” by Kevin Young, “Idea 20: An evil spirit, your beauty, haunts me still” by Michael Drayton, and “Peach” by Jennifer Tonge.


Poetry Out Loud 2013-2014

Congratulations to Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts' 2014 regional winner Anna Voelker of Hampton High Schoolwho came in second for the state of Pennsylvania! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured Anna in their "Person of Interest" column in March 2014.