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Poetry Out Loud -- Program Description

National Poetry Recitation Competition

 POL Main Page | POL In-School Residencies   | POL In-School Residency Application

NJ State POL Website  | National Program Website 

Poetry Out Loud, initiated in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, is a nation-wide poetry recitation competition that encourages high school students (grades 9-12) to learn about great works of classic and contemporary poetry through memorization and recitation.  Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Now in its eleventh year, over 365,000 students nation-wide participated in 2015.  (National Program Website)

Playwrights Theatre has partnered with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA)  to facilitate the program in New Jersey. (NJSCA State POL Website)

Students grades 9-12 in any school in New Jersey are eligible to participate in the 2015-16 New Jersey Poetry Out Loud program. All schools follow the same “poetry bee-style” contest structure which begins at the classroom level. Classroom winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional competition, followed by the NJPOL State Finals in March 2016. The NJPOL State Champion will compete in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., May 2-4, 2016.

As part of the partnership with NJSCA, Playwrights Theatre provides residencies in the schools, where professional poets and performers teach the basics of poetry and performance as part of the school's preparation for the contest. Residencies and costs vary in length and format. Limited grants are available to help fund the cost of a residency.


All New Jersey public, charter, private and parochial high schools and New Jersey home school associations are invited to participate.  Participating students should be in grades 9-12 or the age/grade equivalent.  For complete details and to register your school, visit

 Kay Potucek
New Jersey Poetry Out Loud State Coordinator
Phone:  (609) 474-0529

Robin Middleman
Senior Program Officer, Arts Education
New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Phone:  (609) 984-6815

For More Information
Click on the links below:


Playwrights Theatre's Poetry Out Loud Residencies

NJSCA Website for Statewide Contest

YouTube Videos of Previous NJ Poetry Out Loud Performances

National Poetry Out Loud Website for Information on National Contest




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