The annual Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest encourages the nation’s high school students to experience great poetry through participating in a dynamic nationwide recitation competition. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Missouri has participated in Poetry Out Loud every year since the program was founded in 2006 by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The Poetry Foundation and NEA administer Poetry Out Loud together with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The Missouri Arts Council and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education work in partnership to bring Poetry Out Loud to Missouri.
The competition is structured as a pyramid that starts at the classroom level. Classroom winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional competition, then to a state (or territorial) competition, and ultimately to the National Finals.