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Morning Angel Selects Poetry Out Loud Program as Model for an International Yourth Virtual Exchange

From the Desk of NEA Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter Poetry is everywhere these days, from the sides of buses to song lyrics to the Instagram app on your phone. In fact, for the first time in 15 years, poetry reading is on the rise in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts captures this excitement and entices students to fall in love with poetry through our national recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud. This free program from the National Endowment for the Arts encourages high school students to learn about classic and contemporary poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

Through recitation, students create deep connections with poems and discover new meanings, all while developing important public speaking skills and gaining confidence. Since 2005, more than 3.6 million students and 55,000 teachers from 14,000 schools nationwide have taken part in this program.

The competition starts in the classroom—lesson plans and other resources provide teachers with tools to integrate Poetry Out Loud into their curricula, if they so choose. Students select poems that speak to them from an online anthology of more than 900 poems, including poets ranging from Gwendolyn Brooks to Li-Young Lee to Emily Brontë. Students advance to schoolwide contests, then regional and state finals. By participating in the program, your students have the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Finals in Washington, DC, which will be held April 30– May 1, 2019. In total, Poetry Out Loud will award more than $100,000 to state- and national-level winners and their schools.

The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to partner with the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies to make this program available in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Visit to learn more about this program and connect with your state Poetry Out Loud coordinator to take part in the 2018-19 program.

Mary Anne Carter Acting Chairman National Endowment for the Arts

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