What is Poetry Out Loud (POL)?

Presented by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and the Bradford County Regional Arts Council (BCRAC), Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation contest that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

POL seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, for example in the thriving slam poetry movement. POL invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the high school English class. Through POL, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Starting in the fall and continuing through the spring of each school year, schools in every region of Pennsylvania are invited to participate in classroom, school-wide and Regional Contests, with the opportunity to advance to State Finals, typically held in March in Harrisburg. State champions advance to the National Finals in April in Washington, DC (during the Covid-19 pandemic, competitions were held virtually). The BCRAC hosts one of the Pennsylvania Regional Contests and sends one winner to the State Finals each year. This year’s Regional Contest will be held Friday January 27, 2023 at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts at the Keystone Theatre in Towanda!

The NEA, the Poetry Foundation, and the PCA have partnered to provide materials, grants, and prizes at the State and National Finals in the spring. With this support, the NTP4A is able provide resources to high schools in this region.

The BCRAC invites high school students in Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties to compete in POETRY OUT LOUD! 


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Supported in part by the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency

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