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 2020 Regional Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday February 8 at PCAM's Harris Theater (809 Liberty Avenue). The snow date is Saturday February 15 at PCAM's Regent Square Theater (1035 South Braddock Avenue). More information is available in the documents below.


Poetry Out Loud was created in 2005. Since that time, more than 4 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! In 2016-2017, 6,700 students and 221 teachers from over 100 high schools were involved in this exceptional contest!

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.

PCA&M’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.

Check out the Poetry Out Loud You Tube channel for tips, examples, recitations, and inspiration!

If you’re interested in participating, please feel free to contact Mary Brenholts, Director of Artists in Schools & Communities, at mbrenholts(at)pfpca(dot)org or 412-361-0873, ext 404. Please submit your forms via email.

Documents and Forms

PCA&M POL Fact Sheet 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

PCA&M POL Policies and Information 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

PCA&M POL Time Line 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF) 

PCA&M POL Intent to Participate Form 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

PCA&M POL Student Regional Competition Registration Form 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

PCA&M POL Student Agreement Form 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

PCA&M POL Student Finalist Biography 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

PCA&M POL Checklist for Schools 2019-2020 (DOC) (PDF)

Download all forms (PDF)

PCA&M POL Regional Competition Program 2018-2019

PCA&M POL Regional Competition Schedule and Parking Information 2018-2019 Please note that the 2019-2020 Regional Competition will be taking place in a new location at the Harris Theater in downtown Pittsburgh (809 Liberty Avenue). The snow date, if needed, will be taking place in last year's location, the Regent Square Theater (1035 S. Braddock Avenue).

Poetry Out Loud Teacher's Guide 2019-2020

Poetry Out Loud Poem Broadcast Permissions List 2018-2019 (Excel spreadsheet) Please note that students may select any poem listed on the Poetry Out Loud website or printed in the current anthology (we do not have extra copies), but that any poem on this spreadsheet in red does not currently have broadcast permissions secured. PCA&M does not record or broadcast its Regional Competition. Participating students may be recorded at the State or National levels of competition. A student may recite a poem without broadcast permissions, they just won't be recorded when doing so.

Poetry Out Loud 2017-2018

The winner of Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media's (PCA&M's) 2018 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud was Susan Betten of Montour High School. Ms. Betten, a sophomore, recited "A Birthday" by Christina Rossetti, "Quite Frankly" by Mark Halliday, and "The Bookshelf of the God of Infinite Space" by Jeffrey Skinner.

Congratulations to all of the participating students for their incredible performances at PCA&M's Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition: Faith Kisker (Seton LaSalle High School), Genesis Analise Gore (Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School), Dametria Hanner (Urban Pathways Charter School), Zoe Koutavas (South Fayette High School), and Isabella Bradbudy (Hope Academy of Music and the Arts).


Poetry Out Loud 2016-2017

The winner of Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media (PCA&M)'s 2017 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud was Greer LeRoy from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. Ms. LeRoy, a junior, recited "Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God" by John Donne, "What my lips have kissed, and where, and why" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and "They are hostile nations" by Margaret Atwood.

Congratulations to all of the participating students for their incredible performances at PCA&M's Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition: Gabrielle Feldman (Gateway High School), Patrick Caroff (Pittsburgh Allderdice High School), Liz Druschel (Beaver Area High School), Kierra Mitchell (Urban Pathways Charter School), Henry Schultz (Hope Academy of Music & the Arts), Robert Gigliotti (Seton-La Salle High School), and Jimmy Coblin (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12).

Poetry Out Loud 2015-2016

The winner of Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media (PCA&M)'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.

Ms. LeRoy, a sophomore, recited "The Second Coming" by William Butler Yeats, "The World Is Too Much With Us" by William Wordsworth, and "Love Song" by Dorothy Parker.

Congratulatons to the other participating students for their amazing performances at PCA&M's Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition: Ivan Gunn (Urban Pathways Charter 6-12 Charter School), Katie Carlson (Avonworth High School), Victoria Cheng (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12), Liz Druschel (Beaver Area High School), and Alyssa Melani (Fox Chapel Area High School).

Poetry Out Loud 2014-2015

The winner of Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media (PCA&M)'s 2015 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud, Drew Praskovich a senior 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.

Congratulations to all of the participants of the 2015 Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition: junior Ivan Gunn (Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School), senior Savannah Stewart (South Fayette High School), freshman Madeline Macek (Fox Chapel Area High School), sophomore Sophie Thompson (Avonworth High School), and senior Drew Praskovich (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12).


At PCA&M’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 Anna Voelker, the winner of PCA&M's 2014 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured Anna, a senior at Hampton High School, in their "Person of Interest" column in March 2014.

Anna recited "I Am the People, the Mob" by Carl Sandberg, "An Autumn Sunset" by Edith Wharton, and "I Am Offering this Poem" by Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Anna was joined in competition by Sam Ferguson (Fox Chapel Area High School), Chloe Mellon (Avonworth High School), Victoria Cheng (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12), Ivan Gunn (Urban Pathways Charter School), Savannah Stewart (South Fayette High School), and Carolyn Zsamboky (Trinity High School). Thank you to all the participants for their amazing recitations.