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.

The virtual 2021 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals showcase was held on the evening of March 11. Congratulations to the 2021 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Madison Ganzak! Read more about this year’s virtual State Finals and winners here.

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. In order to ensure the safety and health of participating students and staff, the 2021 POL State Finals and National Finals are being held virtually.

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). Additional support for the 2020-21 program is generously provided by the Liesel Litzenburger Meijer Fund.

 

2020-21 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals

On the evening of March 11, 2021, we celebrated the Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Finals with a virtual program that showcased student recitations and the winner of the original poetry contest! 

How do I participate in Poetry Out Loud?

  • Registration: Online registration for the 2021-22 POL program will open in late summer, 2021. 
  • 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

Here are the key dates from the 2020-21 program to help give you an idea of the POL schedule throughout the school year:

  • August 10, 2020: Online registration opens via Michigan Humanities’ grant and program portal.
  • Late September, 2020: We will begin shipping Teacher Toolkits and welcome folders to registered partners.
  • September 1, 2020: The updated POL online anthology will be published for 2020–21 competition reference. Only poems from the print and updated online anthologies are eligible for recitation.
  • October and November, 2020: 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.
  • January 8, 2021: Last day to submit an application.
  • February 19, 2021: School champion forms due
  • March 11, 2021: Virtual State Finals for Michigan Poetry Out Loud
  • May 2, 2021: Virtual POL National Semifinals
  • May 27, 2021: Virtual 2021 POL National Finals

Awards

Michigan’s state champion receives a $1200 cash award, $1500 stipend for their school, and an opportunity to represent Michigan at the national competition. At the state level, the first runner-up will receive $600, with $700 for their school. The second runner-up will receive $250, with $250 for their school. The third runner-up will receive $150, with $150 for their school. Student and school prizes at the state level are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Liesel Litzenburger Meijer Fund.

Michigan POL Artwork, Essay, and Original Poem Contests

POL students can submit entries for any and all of contests detailed below. Each student may choose to enter one, multiple, or all three contests. 

Artwork Contest

The 2020-21 artwork contest guidelines are as follows:

WHO: Any Michigan high school student who has taken part in the 2020-21 Poetry Out Loud program is eligible to submit one piece of artwork for consideration. Submissions from previous years are not eligible.

WHAT: Michigan Humanities and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs are thrilled to celebrate 16 years of Poetry Out Loud in our state. We know that poetry is alive in your communities, and want to see POL students’ artistic representations of this question – What is the power of poetry and/or how does it speak to you? Students may choose the medium or media of their choice to create a piece of artwork reflecting on this question.

Artwork should be vertical in orientation/layout, and will be reproduced in full color. The submissions will be judged anonymously by a panel.

WHEN: The competition is currently closed; all submissions were due February 19, 2021.

HOW: Students submitted a JPG or PDF of their artwork, as well as a 150-200 word statement describing the work and artistic choices that were made. Students should include only their initials on the artwork that will be reviewed — no school name, teacher name, or other info is needed.

If you are not able to submit via online form, please contact Katie Wittenauer via email for a PDF form that can be completed and submitted with the artwork.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION: The winning piece will be displayed on the cover of this year’s Poetry Out Loud program, and featured on Michigan Humanities’ website and social media. Additionally, the winning student will receive $500 in prize money.

Essay Contest

The 2020-21 essay contest guidelines are as follows:

WHO: Any Michigan high school student who has taken part in the 2020-21 Poetry Out Loud program is eligible to submit one essay for consideration. Submissions from previous years are not eligible.

WHAT: The essay must be a student’s original work, be between 1,000 and 1,300 words, and address the following prompt:

How has participating in the Poetry Out Loud program personally impacted you, your relationship to poetry, and your understanding of the poems you selected? Please include an example of interpretation or analysis that you’ve used with one of your recitations.

 The submissions will be judged anonymously by a panel, and assessed based on how effectively the writer addresses the prompt, organization, reflection and analysis, focus and impact, language, and voice.

WHEN: The competition is currently closed; all submissions were due March 31, 2021.

HOW: To submit an essay for consideration, students can complete this online form and upload a Word document or PDF. Students should include only their initials on the essay document that will be reviewed — no school name, teacher name, or other info is needed. Double-spaced, size 12 type is requested.

If you are not able to submit via online form, please contact Katie Wittenauer via email for a PDF form that can be completed and submitted with the essay.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION: The winner will read an excerpt of their essay during the virtual State Finals. Two runners-up will also be recognized at the event. The following prize money will be awarded to students for the essay contest:

  • First place: $1,000
  • First runner-up: $500
  • Second runner-up: $250

Original Poetry Contest

The 2020-21 original poetry contest guidelines are as follows:

WHO: Any Michigan high school student who has taken part in the 2020-21 Poetry Out Loud program is eligible to submit one poem for consideration.

WHAT: The poem must be a student’s original work, and be no longer than 50 lines.

Submissions will be judged anonymously by a guest poet.

WHEN: The competition is currently closed; all submissions were due February 19, 2021.

HOW: Students uploaded a Word document or PDF or their poem. Students should include only their initials on the document that will be reviewed — no school name, teacher name, or other info is needed. Double-spaced, size 12 type is requested.

If you are not able to submit via online form, please contact Katie Wittenauer via email for a PDF form that can be completed and submitted with the poem.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION: The winner will read their poem during the virtual State Finals. Three runners-up will also be recognized at the event. The following prize money will be awarded to students for the original poetry contest:

  • First place: $1,000
  • First runner-up: $500
  • Second runner-up: $250
  • Third runner-up: $150

School Partner Expectations

  • Incorporate poetry recitation into curriculum (at teacher’s discretion) during fall and winter 2020-21
  • 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
  • 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
  • If an in-person State Finals event is held, provide a fuel stipend (for students, parent(s), and teachers traveling 100 or more miles round trip) and lodging costs for the student, parent(s), and teacher traveling to the state finals event (reimbursement for one night at the event hotel for up to two rooms per school)
  • Provide State Champion with the Poetry Out Loud traveling trophy, to be kept at their school for one year. She/he 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 Katie Wittenauer, Director of Programs

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




  

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