Poetry Out Loud, 2017-2018


The 2017-2018 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest is kicking off at Crossroads!

Senior Nyla Long, 2018 POL Winner

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the contest asks students to memorize and recite a poem for in-school competition, with the opportunity to advance to regional, state, and national finals.

According to the organization, “since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, DC, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.”

“Once you know something and can recite it, you have a different relationship with it,” says Sarah Pierson Wolff, who organizes Poetry Out Loud (POL) at Crossroads.

There’s a lot of enthusiasm for POL among our students. For those who find the challenge less welcome, Sarah believes it’s worthwhile nonetheless, helping students connect both with language and with their peers.

Students begin by selecting a poem from the printed Poetry Out Loud Anthology or online poetry bank, with guidance from their English teachers in the lower grades. The classroom competitions are January 12th-16th, grade-level run-offs on the 17th and 18th, and all-school competition on Friday, January 19th.

One representative from Crossroads will move on to regionals in March. In our decade of participation in Poetry Out Loud, we’ve sent multiple students on to state competition. Two Crossroadians have competed at Nationals: Terry Watkins (2012) and Essence Imani Lee (2014).

During Thanksgiving Break, consider working with your child to select a poem. Should it be something easy, or something hard? Rhyming or unrhymed? Metered or in free verse? A poem you love, or one that confounds you? Or maybe one that mom or dad memorized in school?

If you’d like to know more about POL, please contact Sarah, and stay tuned for updates as this year’s competition unfolds.