Maine Poetry Out Loud
Maine Poetry Out Loud header image


The Maine Arts Commission is proud to partner once again with the National Endowment for the Arts to give Maine schools the opportunity to participate in Poetry Out Loud in 2020-2021.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation.

How it Works

Once you register with us, involvement in Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom level. We’ll provide educational materials and resources to help get you and your students started. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals. Awards and placements are determined solely by the judges’ scores based on the Poetry Out Loud Evaluation Criteria.

New for 2020-2021

Due to COVID-19, there are elements of the Poetry Out Loud program that will look a little different this school year. In order to ensure the safety and health of participating students and staff, the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Finals will be held virtually in lieu of holding them on-site in Washington D.C. At this time, the dates for the virtual 2021 National Finals are still to be determined, but will take place in the Spring as a video submission-based competition. 

Currently, we are planning virtual competitions for the Northern and Southern Regional competitions. If it is safe to do so in March, we will hold a modified in-person competition for the State Finals, but will be prepared to hold the competition virtually as necessary. Exact dates for Regionals and the State Finals will be announced in the coming months. More details about the structure of those competitions will be announced by early 2021. Poetry Out Loud is recommending that school competitions be held virtually, but is allowing for in-person competitions in places where local CDC and school district guidelines deem it safe to do so. More information about hosting virtual competitions can be found on the POL website.

Poetry Out Loud Awards

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and competes in the national finals. The state winner’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for their school. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually.  

Please visit the national Poetry Out Loud site to explore and learn more about this great program.

Key Dates

September 24, 2020         Registration Opens

November 12, 2020       Maine POL Virtual Meetup and FAQ share. Open to any new and returning program coordinators. Register here

December 4, 2020            Registration Deadline 

Early February, 2021        Northern & Southern Maine Regional Finals

Early March, 2021             Maine State Finals

Spring 2021                       National Finals

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, please contact Meg Fournier, Interim Performing Arts & Media Director at the Maine Arts Commission, at (207) 287-2724 or by email at vog.eniam@reinruof.b.nagem.