Colorado Poetry Out Loud 2016 Competition Opens!

2015 POL logo 10 years

This is the 11th Anniversary of Poetry Out Loud! Colorado Poetry Out Loud is part of a national program presented in our state by Colorado Creative Industries.

Presented with Colorado partner, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Schools are invited to participate in classroom and school-wide contests, advancing to a state competition on March 15, 2016. The state champion will advance to the National Finals on May 2-4, 2016 in Washington, DC.

For more information, contact your Colorado Coordinator, Rachael Deagman at

Poetry Out Loud Registration 
Although this is a free program, schools must register to participate no later than January 22, 2016. 

Poetry as an Oral Art Form 
Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry: recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music among youth. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

Colorado Champions 
Jeana Lovett from Liberty High School was selected as the 2015 Colorado Champion, and TaShaiya Henderson from Thornton High School was the 2015 runner up.  Previous state champions include Alice Kilduff from Denver School of the Arts (2014 and 2013), Samuel Opoku from Thornton High School (2012 and 2011), Ben Reilly from George Washington High School in Denver (2010), Kaleena Kovach from William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs (2009), Brittany Harden, also from William J. Palmer High School (2008), and Passion Lyons from Gateway High School in Aurora (2007). 

The State Champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. with an adult chaperone, to compete for the National Championship. The state winner‘s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including a $20,000 prize for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Access Free Program Materials Now 
The program offers free, standards-based curriculum materials and teacher guides including print and online poetry anthologies, a teacher‘s guide with sample lesson plans to help instructors teach recitation and performance, a best performances DVD, and an audio CD featuring well-known actors such as James Earl Jones. In addition, a Learning Recitation DVD is part of the curriculum materials. A mix of old and new performances, this DVD is a great tool for getting students involved with poetry and introducing them to the art of recitation.  Program materials are available for download here at Poetry Out Loud. To request a hard copy of a teacher kit, please contact Colorado Coordinator, Rachael Deagman at