Poetry Out Loud Guidelines POL Participant site

FY2019 Registration Deadline: Sept. 17, 2018

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 submitting a registration.

Core Values of the Kentucky Arts Council

Program Purpose

The purpose of the Poetry Out Loud Program is to promote the art of poetry in both the classroom and the community. This program is meant to directly benefit a broad population by including schools of assorted sizes from a variety of geographical regions in both urban and rural areas.


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 Kentucky high school, public or private, may apply. Home-schooled students may compete through a participating local high school or a home school regional competition hosted by a local library or community center. Schools shall designate a teacher or other representative as the school’s program coordinator. Participating students must be in grades 9 through 12 or grade 8 currently attending classes in a grade 9 classroom. Multiple classes are encouraged to participate at each school.

Acceptance will be on a first-come-first-serve basis as program resources allow. Schools will be notified within two weeks after the deadline.

Program Description and Awards

This grant program enables Kentucky high school teachers to implement Poetry Out Loud in their schools. Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition funded by the NEA, the Poetry Foundation and state arts agencies like the Kentucky Arts Council. Kentucky Poetry Out Loud student's recitations – click here to see past participants recite.

In Kentucky, every participating classroom receives a grant to reimburse a professional teaching artist to provide an interactive workshop to help students prepare for competition. Participating schools will receive free multimedia curriculum materials, including teacher guides, audio guides and posters. The state winner receives $200 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for a $20,000 scholarship in the national competition. The state winner’s school receives a $500 award for the purchase of poetry books.

Hotel accommodations and travel expense reimbursements will be made to only the school district. It is the responsibility of school districts to distribute reimbursement funds to the appropriate parents and /or teachers.

An important aspect of the program is long-term impact on all participants. To assess that impact, evidence will be gathered throughout the planning and implementation of the program to determine progress and to learn about and improve upon the work being done. Effective assessment will include a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures.

Participating schools must:

Note: In the event that the school is closed on a day or days that the artist is scheduled to work, every attempt should be made to reschedule a makeup day or days. In the event of scheduling conflicts, see that your artist is paid for the work he or she has already completed and receives timely payment for the makeup day(s) at the time of completion.

Participating in the State Finals

Each school participating in the program is expected (at minimum) to send their school champion to compete in the state finals on March 5, 2019, in Frankfort, Ky.


Program Timeline

Registration deadline Sept. 17, 2018
Deadline to submit school winner Feb. 8, 2019
State Finals, Frankfort, Ky. March 5, 2019
State finalist register for National Finals deadline March 18, 2019
Final Report deadline April 15, 2019
National Finals, Washington, D.C. April 29 - May 1, 2019

Please fill out the registration form and submit by Sept.17, 2018, to participate in the FY2019 Poetry Out Loud program.


There are no appeals in this program.

For More Information

The arts council welcomes all questions regarding this program and application. For more information, please contact:

Jean St. John
Arts Education Director
888-833-2787 (toll free)



Page last updated: August 1, 2018
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