Poetry Out Loud

Sign up now for the 2023-24 School Year!

“Poetry Out Loud is the best way I’ve ever seen to teach poetry in a classroom. This program gets the students to essentially teach poems to their classmates by reciting them in a way which gives the poem life. As a poet, I’m so grateful for this program and what it does.”  -Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason

Poetry Out Loud encourages teens to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Poetry Out Loud is an exciting way to bring poetry alive for both students and teachers.

Follow Nebraska Poetry Out Loud on Facebook for more information.

Registration deadline is October 15.

Registration Form

Poetry Out Loud Nebraska School Registration

Teachers, use this form to get your school registered for Poetry Out Loud

Mailing Address(Required)
MM slash DD slash YYYY
*In-school programs may start any time after August 31
MM slash DD slash YYYY
*must be completed by early February (date TBA)
Do you wish to have a teaching artist provide virtual coaching sessions* for your students before your school competition?
*Artist sessions are conducted by professional poets and performers who are able to coach students for competitions. The cost of sessions are covered by NAC and are FREE of charge for schools.
The following teacher has agreed to be the contact/coordinator at our school:


All Nebraska high schools are invited to participate in this free program. Participating students compete for a free trip to Washington D.C. and more than $50,000 in scholarships and prizes.

Poetry Out Loud meets many Nebraska ELA and theatre standards, as well as NCTE standards. Nebraska Arts Council provides personalized assistance to help teachers get started with the program.

Virtual artist coaching sessions by professional performing artists and poets are free of charge.




September-February 1st: Conduct in-school programs

  • Conduct In-school programs and optional coaching sessions.
    • Schools that request coaching with a NAC teaching artist are eligible for up to five* sessions. If
      you did not request coaching during registration, you may do so until Dec 1 by contacting NAC.
      *Schools with more than 100 participating students may contact NAC to request more sessions.
  • Teachers may choose to have students recite one or two poems in the school competitions.
  • Hold in-school competitions to determine school champ advancing to State Semi-Finals; allow time for
    school champ to record recitation videos before the submission deadline.

January 2 – February 6, 2024: State Semi-Finals video submissions due

  • Submit your school’s student champ video recordings of two poem recitations anytime
    between January 2 and February 6. We encourage schools to plan ahead and submit videos ahead of
    the final deadline.

February 13, 2024: State Finalists announced

  • State Semi-Final competitors who are selected to advance to State Finals will be notified.

February 20, 2024: State Finals poem selection deadline

  • Deadline for state finalist students to notify NAC of their final three poems.
    • Poem requirement reminder for State Finals: must include one poem 25 lines or less & one
      pre-20th century poem – the same poem can meet both requirements

Saturday, March 9, 2024: Nebraska State Finals

  • State Finals live and in-person in Lincoln from 1:30pm – 4:00pm at Sheldon Museum of Art

April 30–May 2, 2024: National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, DC

  • The Nebraska state champion wins a free trip to Washington to participate in nationals

Resources for Coordinating Teachers


Poetry Out Loud