What We Do

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, administered statewide by the California Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Participants master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The structure of Poetry Out Loud is similar to a spelling bee. This annual program starts in the fall, with high school teachers using the free Poetry Out Loud teacher toolkit and related materials to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions. County winners are then treated to an unforgettable two days at the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento and a chance to compete in the national competition in Washington, D.C. SVCREATES coordinates the program in Santa Clara County.

Who We Serve

Students in selected high schools across Santa Clara County participate in Poetry Out Loud. SVCREATES partners with interested schools and teachers who include the Poetry Out Loud curriculum in their classrooms and conduct school competitions to advance winners to the County competition. SVCREATES, with funding from the California Arts Council, helps coordinate the County competition and sends the winner to Sacramento for the State Finals, typically in spring each year.

Why It’s Important

Poetry Out Loud inspires high school students with the confidence to make themselves heard, using one of the most powerful tools at their disposal—art.

Poetry in education has experienced a renaissance through Poetry Out Loud. Students are given the opportunity to interact with the words of the masters through recitation, building a relationship with the works and creating a sense of shared ownership branded by their own technique of volume, pitch, pace, and personal point of view.

What’s Been Done

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and state and jurisdictional arts agencies. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations in every state, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In Santa Clara County, we have served hundreds of youth, including our 2021 County winner, who went on to win the California State Finals.

What’s Next

Each year participating schools sign up and submit a plan for providing POL curriculum and conducting a school competition.  For more information visit https://www.capoetryoutloud.org/ or contact Alyssae@svcreates.org.


  • October: Register to participate in the Santa Clara County Poetry Out Loud Program
  • October-January: Teachers implement Poetry Out Loud Program in their classrooms or school clubs
  • Late-January: Complete school competition and select students to advance to county competition
  • Mid-February: County Competition
  • March: State Competition
  • May: National Competition