FY2024 Poetry Out Loud Program

Registration Deadline: Oct. 9, 2023 11:59 p.m. Eastern

The Kentucky Arts Council strongly encourages you to read and understand the Poetry Out Loud guidelines and instructions before accessing the registration form.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation.

Like all programs of the Kentucky Arts Council, the Poetry Out Loud Program is guided by the arts council’s core values. Successful applicants will embody these core values and all applicants are strongly encouraged to read and reflect upon them before registering.

Core Values of the Kentucky Arts Council

Program Purpose

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation.


To encourage students to learn poetry through memorization and performance, develop public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about our nation’s literary heritage.

Who May Apply

Any representative of a Kentucky public or private high school may apply. Homeschooled students may compete through a participating local high school or a home school regional competition hosted by a local library or community center. Participating students must be in grades 9 through 12. Multiple classes are encouraged to participate at each school. Acceptance will be on a first-come, first-served basis as program resources allow.

Program Description and Awards

Each participating school will:

  • Select one teacher to serve as the program coordinator who will incorporate poetry recitation into their class curriculum, be the primary point of contact with the arts council, and organize a schoolwide poetry competition.
  • Receive a fully funded interactive residency from a professional teaching artist to help students prepare for competition. The school coordinator and teaching artist will work together to plan their class schedules.
  • Receive free multimedia curriculum materials, including teacher guides and promotional content. School coordinators must use the Kentucky Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud and NEA logos on all printed materials, including press releases, programs, etc.
  • Organize a schoolwide poetry competition with no fewer than two students and no fewer than two rounds of recitation to select a school champion. The school champion will then compete in the State Finals competition. The state champion will receive $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for a $20,000 scholarship in the National Finals. The state champion’s school will also receive a $500 award for the purchase of poetry books.
  • Submit a final report on the school contest, highlighting student and teacher experiences, within 30 days after completion of the school contest. No grant funds will be issued to noncompliant schools.

Note: In the event of school closure, teaching artist residencies, school contests, and the state finals contest may be conducted virtually. The arts council will provide updated guidance as necessary.


Program Timeline

Registration deadline

Oct. 9, 2023

Scheduling agreement deadline

Seven days after receipt

Teaching artist residencies

October 2023 through January 2024

State finalist registration deadline

March 1, 2024

State finals competition

March 14, 2024

National finals registration deadline

March 20, 2024

Final Report deadline

30 days after completion of school contest

National finals, Washington, D.C.

April 30-May 2, 2024

How to Apply

  1. Obtain approval: Arrange for your administrators (e.g., district superintendent) to approve your school’s participation in Poetry Out Loud. This will entail paying the teaching artist’s fee at the time of service and digitally signing a Grant Agreement Form from the arts council to reimburse the fee.
  2. Complete the application: Applications for this program are made through our online grants system. Before beginning the application, carefully read all instructions included in this document. The application must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time Oct. 9, 2023. Following the deadline, each application will be reviewed by the program director, who may contact the applicant if clarification is needed.

Accessing the Application

Go to the Poetry Out Loud application and complete. All fields are required.

When entering contact information, please consider the following:

  • Primary Contact Information:
    • Enter the information of the person responsible for the application (usually yourself). This will also be the person the arts council contacts with any questions about the application.
  • Applicant Information:
    • Enter the full legal name of the school or organization.
    • Please contact your financial officer for your UEI number.
    • Select the applicant discipline that most accurately describes the proposed artist residency.
    • Select the racial and distinct group categories that represents the people who will benefit from this program.
    • You can look up your federal congressional district here, and your state legislative districts here.

For More Information

The arts council welcomes all questions regarding this program and application. For more information, please visit the official Poetry Out Loud website, or contact:

Cynthia Warner
Arts Education Director

Kentucky Arts Council
500 Mero St.
Fifth Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601