Poetry Out Loud Guidelines

FY2022 Poetry Out Loud Program

Registration Deadline: Oct. 1, 2021 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 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 and diverse population by including schools of various sizes from a range of geographic 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. Homeschooled 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-served basis as program resources allow. Schools will be notified of their status within two weeks after the registration deadline.

Program Description and Awards

This 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 recitations – see past participants recite.

Each participating school will:

Note: In the event of school closure due to COVID-19, teaching artist residencies, school contests, and the state finals contest may be conducted virtually. The arts council will provide updated guidance as necessary and technical assistance on a case-by-case basis.

Participating in the State and National Finals

Each participating school must:


Program Timeline

Registration deadline
Oct. 1, 2021
Teaching artist residencies
Oct. 4, 2021-Jan. 28, 2022
State finalist registration deadline
Feb. 4, 2022
State Finals Contest
March 1, 2022
National finalist registration deadline
March 17, 2022
Final Report deadline
30 days after completion of school contest
National Finals, Washington, D.C.
April 25-27, 2022

Please fill out the registration form and submit by Oct. 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern to participate in the 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:

Samuel Lockridge
Arts Education Director