CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The 2020 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud (POL) state competition registration deadline is set for Monday, Dec. 5, 2019. 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. The statewide competition will be held at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston on March 13-14, 2020.

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 competition begins on a school-wide level, with the winners at each school advancing to the statewide competition. 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 2018-2019 school year, 51 West Virginia high schools held Poetry Out Loud competitions. One hundred thirteen teachers worked with 4,167 students at the local level. Forty-five finalists from the school competitions competed at the state event. Brett Napier of Greenbrier East High School was selected the 2019 state champion. Napier competed in the national finals in Washington, D.C.

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.