Poetry Out Loud


What is Poetry Out Loud?

As part of their English class curriculum, every student at Crossroads will participate in Poetry Out Loud every year. This is a national recitation contest, conducted in all 50 states by the National Endowment for the Arts. Students are asked to memorize and recite a poem by a published poet. Last year, 5,000 students competed in Missouri and thousands more nationally. We hold our Crossroads school-level contest in January. Some students will choose to select and memorize their poem before the December break; others will begin the work after break.

Why participate in Poetry Out Loud?

Historically, Crossroads has been quite competitive in this program, often winning Regionals and even winning the State competition in 2012 and 2013. However, it is not for the victory that we ask every student to compete. When we memorize and recite a poem, our understanding of the poem deepens; our relationship with its ideas and messages becomes more intimate when it is expressed in our voice. When we stand in front of others to relay it, we build skills in public speaking and performance which build confidence and maturity. Hopefully, through this act, we become life-long readers of poetry, seeing the power of the poetic word. One Poetry Out Loud teacher said, “POL reminds us why words matter and inspires us to read, examine, reflect, write, and speak out loud with confidence.”

*from Denise Abercrombie, teacher and English department chair, EO Smith High School, Connecticut.