Poetry Out Loud (POL) is an exciting National competition started in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The contest challenges high school students to memorize and recite poetry, a chance to showcase their talents, build self-confidence, and gain both an appreciation and understanding of poetry.

The Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County has been an California Arts Council’s official local partner for Poetry Out Loud since 2007. Every Contra Costa County high school is encouraged to participate. Local arts non-profit organizations and libraries are welcome and encouraged to participate as well. Each year ten to fifteen high schools representing East, West, and Central County have participated. These include public schools, private schools, charter schools, alternative schools, court schools, and homeschool groups.

Poetry Out Loud is a free program!

There is no cost to either the school or the students.

Poetry Out Loud is a tiered competition structure that begins in the classroom. High school teachers use the free Poetry Out Loud teacher toolkit (https://www.poetryoutloud.org/teachers-organizers/lesson-plans/) to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions. Class winners advance to the school-wide competition, then one school champion enters the county competition. The County winner is eligible to compete in the state competition, and the state winner competes in the national finals in Washington D.C. for a grand prize of $20,000.

Poetry Out Loud has been made accessible to accommodate in-person and virtual teaching environments at the school level. Additional information on this year's hybrid model will be shared with participating schools.

Please complete form by 12/15/21!

Please feel free to email our county coordinator, Brennan DeFrisco, at bdeeppoetry@gmail.com or call (925) 984-4031 for any questions you may have.

Thank you for your interest in supporting Poetry Out Loud!
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Email *
Phone: *
Representative Name: *
School Name or Organization: *
School Address: *
What’s your position (For example: teacher, coordinator, volunteer, and etc.)? *
How many students will DIRECTLY participate in Poetry Out Loud at this school (i.e. receive any POL instruction, even if they never choose to enter a contest)? If you are not certain yet, please give us your best estimates. *
How many teachers will participate in Poetry Out Loud at this school? *
On what date will this school hold a schoolwide POL contest? Your contest must be completed by January 28, 2022 to qualify your School Champion for county finals. *
How many students will be INDIRECTLY impacted by Poetry Out Loud at this school? (These are usually students who only attend events as audience members. Students who participate in class but don't compete are DIRECT participants and should be counted above). If you are not certain yet, please give us your best estimates. *
School or Organization website and/or social media (Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram). The Arts and Culture Commission would like to follow and support you!
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