Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest is sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with state arts agencies, such as the PA Council on the Arts, across the United States. Poetry Out Loud (POL) encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.


The winner of Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA) 's 2015 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud, Drew Praskovich from Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, participated in the 10th Anniversary Poetry Out Loud Pennsylvania state-wide competition this March. Find out more about the Finals competition here on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts website.

More about how Drew made it to the finals...

On February 7, 2015 six high school students, senior Bennett Grefenstette from Seton-La Salle Catholic High School, junior Ivan Gunn from Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School, senior Savannah Stewart from South Fayette High School, freshman Madeline Macek from Fox Chapel Area High School, sophomore Sophie Thompson from Avonworth High School, and senior Drew Praskovich from Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, participated in the 2015 Regional Poetry Out Loud Contest held at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA) is happy to announce the winner of our 2015 Regional Competition for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.  The student winner is Drew Praskovich from Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12! 

At PF/PCA’s 2015 Regional Competition, Drew Praskovich recited “Cadillac Moon” by Kevin Young, “Idea 20: An evil spirit, your beauty, haunts me still” by Michael Drayton, and “Peach” by Jennifer Tonge.


Regional Winner Drew Praskovich will be competing in Pennsylvania’s state competition to be held at the historic Forum Auditorium in Harrisburg, PA on March 9, 2015.  Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship, April 28-29, 2015. The school of the PA state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

This is the 10th Anniversary of Poetry Out Loud and celebrations are in the works!

In the nine years since it was first established, participation in Poetry Out Loud has increased every year with more than 365,000 students and 8,800 teachers from 2,200 schools participating nationally in 2013-14 including more than 9,444 participants from 108 high schools in Pennsylvania!

Why is there so much participation and enthusiasm? Because the program works! Through a memorization, recitation, and contest format that starts at the classroom level and pyramids through school, regional, and state competitions students become engaged by and excited about poetry!

Some reasons why POL is so successful:

  • It can be run in as little as 2-3 weeks at the school level and does not require full class periods.
  • All program materials - poetry anthology, teacher's guide, DVD, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides - are free and are provided online with hard copies also available.
  • Studying literature, including poetry, addresses at least three Anchor Assessments as per the PA Core ELA Standards: Speaking and Listening (SL. 9-10, SL 12-11), Reading (RL. 9-10, RL 11-12), and Language (L. 9-10, L 11-12).
  • The process helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts’ Arts in Education and POL service region includes Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, and Washington counties.

Please note that community organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, can also participate in Poetry Out Loud.

If you’re interested in participating next year, but have some questions please feel free to contact Mary Brenholts, Director of School & Community Programs, at mary(at)pittsburgharts(dot)org or 412-361-0873, ex 368.

Poetry Out Loud 2013-2014

Congratulations to Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts' 2014 regional winner Anna Voelker of Hampton High Schoolwho came in second for the state of Pennsylvania! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured Anna in their "Person of Interest" column in March 2014.

Find out about Pennsylvania's 2014 State Champion, Elliot Davidson here.