An auditorium full of people are watching a person on stage. “Poetry Out Loud" is projected behind the stage.

Poetry Out Loud

Bringing poetry to life through performance

The words of great poets literally come to life in Poetry Out Loud (POL), a literary arts program created by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. Through MSAC support, students across Maryland are enriched by this national arts education program that encourages the mastery of great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Since 2005, nearly 4.7 million students have competed in Poetry Out Loud nationwide. That's almost 4.7 million students who have learned at least one poem by heart! In Maryland, approximately 129,000 students have participated in the program, learning the power of poetry firsthand.

2022-23 Poetry Out Loud Information

2022-23 Competition Overview: 

This year, the Maryland State Arts Council is hosting the 2022-2023 Poetry Out Loud Competition Regional Competitions VIRTUALLY and the State Competition IN-PERSON! Regional and State competition dates will be announced in November. 

Who: 

Poetry Out Loud is open to all high school students. 

Awards:

Each winner at the state level receives at least $200 and the chance to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school/organization receives $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state receives at least $100, with $200 for their school. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually. Learn more about Poetry Out Loud here: poetryoutloud.org.

Competition Levels:

Regional

For the Regional competition hosted in the winter, registered students will electronically submit videos reciting three poems from the POL Anthology for judges' online review.

State

For the State competition hosted in March 2023, the top students from each region will be invited to attend a live event where they will recite three poems from the POL Anthology for a panel of judges. 

Rehearsals and Coaching:  

Stay tuned for details about POL Rehearsal and Coaching hours. 

Other:

Please note Poetry Out Loud is not a creative writing competition and that Maryland is not sponsoring the original works competition, Poetry Ourselves, in 2022-2023. Find poems to recite in the digital POL Anthology: poetryoutloud.org/search/?type=poem.

Registration:

Registration is live for independent students, schools, non-profits, county arts agencies, and other organizations who intend to submit videos for regional competition consideration. 

To register, please click here

Registration closes Monday, November 15, at 11:59PM. After you complete your registration form you will receive further information about how to submit poetry recitation videos for the regional competition.

Registration Options:

1. Host School: A teacher completes this registration form with the intent to host a classroom and school competition with a body of students. The top two students from that competition submit recitation videos for the Regional competition level.

2. Host Organization: An organization staff member completes this registration form with the intent to host a community level competition with a body of students. The top two students from that competition submit recitation videos for the Regional competition level.

3. Independent Student: A student completes this registration form with the intent to submit recitation videos for the Regional competition level.

2022 POL State Competition

Photo of Harrison

Harrison Lynch from The King’s Christian Academy in St. Mary’s County was selected as the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland state champion on March 10th during state finals. He was among eight finalists who were selected from 25 Maryland students representing 13 counties that competed in the statewide competitions. The POL poetry recitation contest is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, and administered by U.S. state arts agencies and regional organizations across the country. The Maryland POL competition is produced by MSAC.

Second place was awarded to Abigail Grove from Allegany High School in Allegany County, and third place went to Matthew Bacho from Severna Park High School in Anne Arundel County. The five remaining finalists were Peyton McDonald (Allegany County), Curtis Kemtchouang (Frederick County),

Yasmin Roach (Howard County), Roselyn Centeno (Montgomery County), and Treston Melvin (Worcester County).

 

2021 POL State Competition

2021 Maryland State POL Champion Kate Maerten looks up at the sky in awe of bubbles surrounding them.

Kate Maerten, a 12th grader at Gerstell Academy in Carroll County, was selected as the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland State champion on March 9th during state finals. She was among eight finalists that were selected from 25 Maryland students in eight counties that competed in the statewide competitions. The POL poetry recitation contest is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, and administered by U.S. state arts agencies and regional organizations across the country. The Maryland POL competition is produced by MSAC.

Second place was awarded to Paula Yeboah, an 11th grader at Wilde Lake High School in Howard County, and third place went to Harrison Lynch, an 11th grader at The King's Christian Academy in St. Mary’s County. The five remaining finalists were  Aimee Pentermann (St. Mary's County), Colin Benedict (Anne Arundel County), Ellie Heath (Anne Arundel County), Joseph Griffin (Howard County), and Katie Spencer (Anne Arundel County).

 

2020 POL State Competition

2020 Maryland State POL Champion Randolph Smith stands in front of a step and repeat banner with the MSAC Logo.


Randolph Smith, an 11th grader at Concordia Preparatory High School in Baltimore County, was selected as the 2020 Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland State champion on March 7th during state finals at Baltimore Center Stage.  He was among nine finalists that were selected from more than 24 Maryland students in nine counties that competed in the statewide competition. The POL poetry recitation contest is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, and administered by U.S. state arts agencies and regional arts organizations across the country. The Maryland POL competition is produced by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC).

Second place was awarded to Maylis Quesnel, a 12th grader at Richard Montgomery High School, Montgomery County, and third place went to Katie Spencer, a 10th grader at Indian Creek School, Anne Arundel County. The six remaining finalists were Joy Campbell (Frederick County), Allison (Faith) Comising (Howard County), Caroline Daley (St. Mary’s County), Ellie Heath (Anne Arundel County), Kate Maerten (Carroll County), and Sanjana Subramanian (Frederick County).

The NEA also produces Poetry Ourselves, an additional, optional competition that allows students to submit an original piece of poetry. The 2020 Maryland State Poetry Ourselves winner is Joy Campbell, an 11th grader at Oakdale High School in Frederick County. In 2021, the Poetry Ourselves competition will be suspended. Students interested in original poetry should refer to our POL Resources for writing competitions available throughout the state.