About the Program

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies in all fifty states to sponsor the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. More than four million students have participated in Poetry Out Loud since 2005, with many advancing from classroom competitions to school competitions to state competitions and ultimately to the national finals where students compete for the grand prize of $20,000. In total, Poetry Out Loud  awards more than $100,000 to state- and national-level winners and their schools each year.

Poetry Out Loud addresses most state ELA standards and can easily be integrated into existing curriculum. By incorporating memorization and performance in the classroom, POL sets the stage for students to deepen their understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and the nuances within word meanings. In addition, students learn about great poetry, explore its literary heritage, and gain confidence in public speaking skills.

North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) offers funding to support poet visits to schools registered in the POL Program.  These funds will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Total amount of request may not exceed $2,000. *See the Poets in Schools tab above.

Who Can Participate?

Any school or homeschool group in North Dakota that includes students in grades 9 through 12 qualifies for POL. Public, private, alternative, and independent schools as well as homeschool groups or organizations and school-sponsored afterschool programs are encouraged to participate.

Materials & Timeline

Poetry Out Loud provides free online curriculum materials, including an online poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources at

After schools register with their state arts agency, teachers are sent an information packet and invited to access the online materials to use within their classrooms. Poetry Out Loud integrates with existing ELA curriculum, does not require full class periods, and can be completed in 2-3 weeks. Following classroom and/or school level competitions, school champions gather at the state Capitol in late February to compete at the North Dakota State Poetry Out Loud Finals Competition. The new ND State POL Champion then moves forward to the national finals which are held in Washington, DC, in late April or early May.

2023-24 POL Guide for Teachers and Organizers

While teachers, students, and poetry lovers everywhere can use this website and its free materials to organize their own contests, the official contest is limited to the programs run by each state’s arts agency.


  • November 1, 2023: Deadline for School Registration
  • December 11, 2023: Deadline for Poets in Schools Funding Request
  • September 2023 – January 2024: Teachers weave POL into curriculum
  • February 1, 2024: Deadline for School Competitions to be completed
  • February 2, 2024: Deadline for submission of School Champion Registration form
  • February 26, 2024: ND State POL Competition, ND State Heritage Center
  • April 30 - May 2, 2024: National POL Competition, Washington, DC

*Subject to revision

Poets in Schools Funding Opportunity

Poets in Schools brings the transformative beauty of poetry directly into classrooms and communities across the state. The grant program empowers schools to host practicing poets who actively engage with students, igniting their passion for poetry and self-expression. 

*Application deadline has passed.

To use the Funding Request Form as a fillable document, please follow these steps:

  1. Download and SAVE the pdf to your desktop.
  2. Add your school to the file name. (example: POL 2023-24 Poets in Schools Funding Request_Sunrise HS)
  3. Once saved, open the pdf directly from the desktop location.
  4. Complete the form and SAVE all information. 

Available Poets for 2023-24


North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) offers a grant to support poet visits to schools that are registered in the Poetry Out Loud program.

*DEADLINE TO SUBMIT - December 15, 2023


  • Visits Schedule: All Poets in Schools visits must take place before February 1, 2024.
  • Allocation and Maximum Request: Grants are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a maximum request limit of $2,000 per school.
  • Extending Visit Time: If your school wishes to extend the time with the poet beyond the grant funds, you may do so using alternative funds. Refer to the fee scale below for details.
  • Submission Deadline: Funding requests must be submitted no later than December 15, 2023. Late requests will not be considered.
  • Definition of Poet Visits: Poet visits encompass in-person or online interactions with practicing poets who actively engage in the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Program. These visits may involve coaching small groups, individual student performances, exploring poetry, and delivering assembly-style performances to ignite enthusiasm.
  • Fee Scale for Poet Visits (Negotiable):
    • Fee per one-hour, small group Coaching/Poetry Exploration Session: $350 per session, with a maximum of 6 sessions. Small groups may not exceed 35 students.
    • Fee per one-hour Assembly Performances: $600 per assembly, with a maximum of 2 performances.
  • Additional Costs (Negotiable):
    • Travel: Reimbursed at the state rate of $0.625 per mile.
    • Meals: Provided at the state rate as needed (Breakfast - $9.00, Lunch - $14.00, Dinner - $22.00).
    • Lodging: As needed, at local rates.
  • Payment to Poets: Schools will directly compensate poets following the completion of their event.
  • Reimbursement Process: NDCA will award the granted amount to the school as reimbursement upon the completion of the proposed project, submission of required documentation, and the fulfillment of a full and complete Final Report.

For further information on Poetry Out Loud