Poetry Out Loud

What is Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. The goal of the program is to provide students an opportunity to read and recite great poems while enhancing their public speaking and presentation skills. Teachers first use a free resource guide to help their students develop a deeper appreciation of poetry. Each school holds a recitation contest to determine a school champion.

School champions are then invited to participate in the annual state competition. The 2020 competition will be held on the campus of USF St. Petersburg on Saturday, February 29th.

The winner of the state finals is awarded $500 and given an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. The State Champion’s school library receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. More than $50,000 in prizes and school stipends are awarded annually at the National Finals in April, with the national winner receiving $20,000 in college scholarship funds.

Zhaedyn Hodge Sigars, 2019 POL Champion

Poetry Out Loud News

  • Mark your calendars, the 2020 State Championship will be held on the USF St. Petersburg Campus on February 29, 2020.

  • Teachers contact us to request a free lesson plan kit.

Upcoming Deadlines

Deadline to register your school Deadline to register your school’s winner
December 31, 2019 at 12pm EST February 7, 2020 at 12pm EST

Need Help?

We are happy to provide guidance on completing an application as well as troubleshooting technical difficulties. Please contact staff well in advance of the deadline to ensure a prompt reply.

General Speaker Questions:
Alex Buell

Technical Questions:
Lisa Lennox

Register your school now

All new users will need to create an account to use our online application processing site. If you believe your school already has an account, contact Lisa Lennox at llennox@flahum.org or 727-873-2018 for assistance in accessing your account.

Important: When creating a new account, you will be prompted to enter a DUNS and Federal ID number for your school. While these are required fields in our system, we do NOT need these numbers for Poetry Out Loud. For DUNS, enter 12345678 and for Federal ID enter 12-34567.

New User On-Line Application System Instructions
Register Your School

Poetry Out Loud, Florida Champions

Zhaedyn Hodge Sigars
2019 Winner, Howard W. Blake High School, Tampa, Florida
Zhaedyn Sigars is the 2019 State Champion. He recited the poems “Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth; “The Song of the Smoke” by W.E.B. DuBois; and “The Paradox” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Natalie Schimek
2018 Winner, Pine View School for the Gifted, Sarasota, Florida
Natalie Schimeck is the 2018 State Champion. She recited the poems “An Apology for Her Poetry” by Margaret Cavendish; “After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost; and “Across the Bay” by Donald Davie.

Alexis Schuster
2017 Winner, Winter Park High School, Winter Park, Florida
Alexis Schuster is the 2017 State Champion. She recited the poems “All This and More” by Mary Karr; “Amor Mundi” by Christina Rossetti; and “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg” by Richard Hugo.

Jarod Atchley
2016 Winner, West Port High School, Ocala, Florida
Jarod Atchley is the 2016 State Champion. He recited the poems “The Way It Sometimes Is” by Henry Taylor; “Poem” by Muriel Rukeyser; and “Holy Sonnets: Death, Be Not Proud” by John Donne.

Poetry Out Loud is made possible by: