Poetry Out Loud

“We need math, science, engineering and technology to compete in the world econo­my, but we also need poetry to make the lives we live richer, deeper and ever open to new interpretations.”

Nancy Weiss
Poetry Out Loud judge and CTH board member

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a nationwide contest for high school students that encourages them to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. Students who participate in Poetry Out Loud master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The program satisfies more than half of the NCTE English Language Arts Standards.

The Connecticut Center for the Book at Connecticut Humanities is pleased to coordinate the program in Connecticut. Participation is free and open to all accredited Connecticut high schools.

The Poetry Out Loud contest starts at the classroom level with winners advancing to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals. The state champion receives a cash award and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington DC with an adult chaperone to compete in the national competition. His or her school also receives a gift to purchase books of poetry. The first runner-up and his or her school library receive smaller cash awards.

Schools sign up to participate in Poetry Out Loud in the fall. We provide schools with onsite workshops with experienced teaching artists on a first come, first served basis. Teachers receive a free professional development workshop to show them how to incorporate Poetry Out Loud into their curriculum, as well as resources such as a database of poems, a resource guide, videos and more. Student winners at the school level can also attend a free full-day workshop to prepare for state finals.

In 2014, 170 Connecticut teachers worked with over sixty-seven hundred students to help them find the voice of a poem and, in the process, their own voices as well. Twenty-nine schools were represented at the state finals. This year, we plan to expand to at least 40 schools, schedule more visiting poet workshops to helps schools with tight resources and hold an celebration banquet for students and teachers in honor of their hard work.

Question? Need for information? Contact Rachel at or 860.685.7590.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the Connecticut Center for the Book at Connecticut Humanities, the Connecticut Office of the Arts at Department of Economic and Community Development, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation.


Question? Need for information? Contact Rachel at 860.685.7590.


Sept. 3      School registration opens


Oct. 17     School registration closes

Professional development workshop for teachers


Deadline for teachers to request a teaching artist

November –January

Teaching artists visit schools
Teachers conduct POL activities in classrooms
School contests/School champions identified


Deadline to submit School Champion names for state finals
School Champion workshop


Connecticut State Finals


National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Fill out my online form.

Participating Schools

These schools participated in the 2014 state finals.

Avon High School
Bacon Academy (Colchester)
Bethel High School
Bolton High School
Branford High School
Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford)
Darien High School
E. O. Smith High School (Storrs)
East Windsor High School
Greater Hartford Classical Magnet School (Hartford)
Greenwich High School
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
Hamden High School
Immaculate High School (Danbury)
Joel Barlow High School (Redding)

Medical Professions and Teacher Prep. Academy (Windsor)
Mercy High School (Middletown)
Montville High School
Naugatuck High School
Northwestern High School (Winsted)
Oxford High School
Regional School District 10 (Burlington)
Ridgefield High School
Rockville High School
Somers High School
Staples High School (Westport)
The Renbrook School (West Hartford)
University High School of Science and Engineering (Hartford)
Wilton High School
Windsor High School

Congratulations to the 2014 finalists and Connecticut State Champion Michaella Toledo!

Brianna Alessio, Bacon Academy
Emma Avery, Regional School District 10
Breana Del Gatto, Darien High School
Victoria Gibbs, Avon High School
Erin Gonyeau, Rockville High School
Benjamin Harlee, Greater Hartford Classical Magnet School
Kimmy Kaster, Joel Barlow High School
Kathleen Kelly, Oxford High School
Nicholas Kerr, The Renbrook School
Stanley Kesilewski, Montville High School
Kirsten Liniger, Newtown High School
Elizabeth Ludanyi, Immaculate High School
Vivia Marshall, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
Liam McLean, E. O. Smith High School

George Menz, Staples High School
Ben Mueller, Windsor High School
Gabriell (Gabby) Nelson, Northwestern High School
Miranda Pepin, Choate Rosemary Hall
Eli Phelps, The Morgan School
Romana Pilepich, Bethel High School
Gabriela Resto, East Windsor High School
Amina Seidi, Univ. High School of Science and Engineering
Tyus Southern, Wilton High School
Madelyn Teller, Bolton High School
Michaella Toledo, Mercy High School
Caroline Turner, Ridgefield High School
Precious Uwaya, Medical Professions and Teacher Prepatory Academy
Talia Waxman, Greenwich High School
Jadelynn Ye, Branford High School