Upcoming Poetry Out Loud Events

For Poetry Out Loud Inquiries

Estee Schlenner
Programs and Communications Coordinator

eschlenner “at” mihumanities.org
or call 517-372-7770

Help Support Michigan Humanities

Poetry Out Loud

What is Poetry Out Loud?


Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. By encouraging youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The program and all materials are provided to each partner at no cost.

Each year, participating partners host their own competitions and select a student to represent their school at the State Finals. The state champion advances to the national finals in Washington, D.C. and competes for a $20,000 college scholarship.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of Michigan Humanities (MH), Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Poetry Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).


2021-22 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals

The 2021-22 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals are March 3 and 4, 2022, at the Crown Plaza Lansing.

How do I participate in Poetry Out Loud?

  • Registration: Register your school here.
  • Materials: Program resources will be distributed on a rolling basis beginning in early fall, 2021.
  • Eligibility: Only schools and organizations registered with their state Poetry Out Loud coordinator are eligible for the official competition. Student eligibility is detailed in the teacher’s guide and on the POL website.

Learn more about Michigan Humanities’ 2021 grants and programs by watching the latest virtual workshop. A recording is available here, and the PowerPoint can be downloaded here.

Lead Teacher Resources

Key Dates

  • September 1, 2021: The updated POL online anthology was published for 2021–22 competition reference. Only poems from the print and updated online anthologies are eligible for recitation.
  • October 2021: Orientation and other informational webinars will be offered to talk through the program resources, schedule, virtual adaptations, judging rubric, and any questions teachers and students may have. The webinars will be recorded and distributed to all registered teachers. Please RSVP via the Zoom link below and be on the lookout for additional offerings for November, December, and January:
  • December 3, 2021: Last day to submit a POL school partner application.
  • January 28, 2022: Deadline for submitting your school’s student champion information online
  • March 3-4, 2022: Poetry Out Loud State Finals at the Crowne Plaza Lansing
  • Spring 2022, dates TBD: Virtual Poetry Out Loud National Finals


Michigan’s state champion receives a $1000 cash award, and an opportunity to represent Michigan at the national competition. At the state level, the first runner-up will receive $750, the second runner-up will receive $500, and the third runner-up will receive $250.

School Partner Expectations

  • Incorporate poetry recitation into curriculum (at teacher’s discretion) during fall and winter 2021-22
  • Hold classroom and school competitions — virtually, in-person, or in a hybrid format — to determine school champion
  • Ensure school champion will attend state and national championships (if selected)
  • Provide school champion’s information to MH by deadline of January 28, 2022.
  • Be prepared to report expenses, dates (teaching and competitions), and participation numbers
  • NOTE: Before reimbursements can be distributed following the statewide competition, school surveys must be sent to MH
  • Full contest rules are available in the POL teacher’s guide. Hard copies are provided to participating teachers and available online.

MH Commitment

  • Provide a POL teacher’s guide to each participating teacher
  • Provide a fuel stipend of $60 for students, parent(s), and teachers traveling 100-250 miles round trip and $120 for students, parent(s), and teachers traveling over 250 miles round trip
  • Provide State Champion with the Poetry Out Loud traveling trophy, to be kept at their school for one year. They will also receive a minimum award of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for a $20,000 scholarship at the national competition.
  • Provide poetry programming opportunities and offer POL support via MH and Estee Schlenner, Programs and Communications Coordinator

Social Media

Get updates, post questions, and share your photos via the MH accounts below and with #MIHumanities, #MIPoetryOutLoud, and #IamPoetryOutLoud.

Michigan Poetry Out Loud Sponsors

Michigan Poetry Out Loud Sponsors