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We are pleased to announce the return of


For the last ten years, thousands of Rhode Island high school students, public and private, from Burrillville to Block Island, have participated in this national enrichment program. Once again, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud, in partnership with the RI State Council on the Arts and VSA arts RI.

This educational project allows high school teachers of English, Life Skills, Theatre Arts, Public Speaking and other specialties to work under the guidance of professional teaching artists to give students the benefits of a nationally approved program in the recitation and performance of poetry. Teaching artists will begin visiting registered schools as early as October, leading up to each school’s competition. Students participating in the program have the opportunity to advance to a statewide competition in March. One winning RI student will be sent to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., to compete against winners from the rest of the nation for awards totaling $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes.


Interested teachers need to submit a registration form in order to be considered for participation. Contact: poetryoutloudri@gmail.com or programs@vsartsri.org for details.

Poetry Out Loud is available at no cost to any interested high school.  Because of an anticipated increase in participating schools, please indicate if you would be interested in having a Teaching Artist visit your class to assist with this program. Consideration will be given to classes that serve students with disabilities.


March: date TBD at RISD Museum's Chase Center.


POEMS: Finalists will begin each recitation with the title of the poem and the name of the poet. Poem must be recited from memory. Of the three poems prepared, 1 must be from pre-20 th century, and 1 must be less than 25 lines. The same poem may fulfill both requirements. All poems must come from the Poetry Out Loud Anthology, either the online or printed version. There is no requirement regarding the time period for your choice of poems; however, please remember that one of the categories you are being judged on is Level of Difficulty. Recitations should include epigraphs if included in the Poetry Out Loud anthology, but a student’s own editorial comments before or after the poem are not allowed. Author’s dedications and footnoted translations included with the original poem are optional, and their inclusion or exclusion should not weigh in the score. No props may be used.

ATTIRE: Finalists should dress neatly. Dressing formally (ties, dresses) is acceptable but not required. No hats, jeans or sneakers, please. Avoid any items with slogans, messages, or pictures. No costumes. Please find a way to keep hair from obscuring your face.

PROMPTING: A prompter will be in the audience reading along, right in front of center stage. If you need a prompt, simply say “line” or “prompt” and the prompter will read a few words. Note that your score will be deducted 3 points for each use of the prompter. Eight points will be added to your score for a perfect recitation. You may find that simply taking a deep breath will sometimes serve you better than calling for a prompt.


Contact Martha Lavieri, Rhode Island State Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud: poetryoutloudri@gmail.com

Phone: (401) 725-0247

For more information on Poetry Out Loud, including a downloadable Teachers’ Guide, visit the national website: www.poetryoutloud.org

Amber Johnson, Classical High School
National & Rhode Island State Champion, 2010








"Working to create a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts."

VSA arts Rhode Island
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