The 2018 annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition is just around the corner. Every year high school students compete locally, regionally, and some nationally to become a young, literary champion.
What is it?
Poetry Out Loud consists of high school students, in grades 9-12, reciting poetry and competing first against their classmates, then against other students in their area. After state-level finals are held, state winners are up against students from all over the country. In the program, the participating students are to memorize poems from the Poetry Out Loud poetry anthology, which can be found online on the program website. The participants then recite their memorized poems and are judged on how well they do: did they show an understanding of the poem? did they use emotion and expression? are they physically moving?
Why should I participate?
The goal of the Poetry Out Loud program is to improve the speaking skills and confidence of students all cross the nation, and bring poetry to students who might otherwise have little access to it.
Justine Haka, Poetry Out Loud’s administrator, stated, “It is our hope that the students who participate in POL end up having a one-on-one personal relationship with and investment in poetry. Students also walk away from the program with more confidence and finer tuned analytical skills. As for the audience, we hope that watching these performances and hearing these poems will foster a wider interest in poetry.”
Not only is it a fun experience for the participants, as they meet new friends with a common interest in poetry, but they gain important skills that they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
Date & Info for POL in the Deep South
If your state is not listed here, you can visit the website to find your POL state contact.