CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The 2021 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud (POL) state competition registration deadline is set for Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. All West Virginia public and private high schools and homeschool associations are encouraged to participate in the event, which is sponsored annually by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest and free program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. The program begins on a school-wide level, with the winners at each school advancing to the statewide competition. This year’s state final will be a video-based competition.

Community organizations may also sponsor a local Poetry Out Loud competition in areas where a school-based program is not offered. Students unable to participate at a local school should contact the state Poetry Out Loud coordinator for more information about how to register.

The POL curriculum is designed to meet state and national standards in language arts and reading. Program materials include an online poetry anthology, teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters and audio-visual materials on the art of recitation. These materials can be downloaded at, or the materials are available from the department.

In the 2019-2020 school year, 50 West Virginia high schools held Poetry Out Loud competitions. One hundred thirty-one teachers worked with nearly 5,000 students at the local level. Twenty-eight finalists from the school competitions competed in a video-based state finals event. Rhéa Ming of Spring Mills High School was selected the 2020 state champion.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, receive the program materials and register for the state competition, visit or contact Jim Wolfe, program coordinator, at or 304-558-0240.