2019 POL County Champion, Ivy Hatter, with School Champions

2019 POL County Champion, Ivy Hatter, with School Champions

2019-2020 important dates

November 30, 2019: Registration Deadline for Participating High Schools

February 12, 2020: Santa Maria

March 15-16, 2020: State Finals in Sacramento

April 27-29, 2020: National Finals in Washington D.C.


Poetry Out Loud (National)
Poetry Out Loud (State)
Teacher's Guide
Judge's Guide

staff contact

Hannah Rubalcava
Grants and Contracts Manager


Audrey Lopez


what it is

since the program’s inception in 2006, the office of arts and culture has proudly produced Poetry Out Loud (POL) in partnership with the national endowment for the arts, the california arts and the poetry foundation. this extraordinary program offers our high school students the opportunity to learn great poetry, perform it, and win prizes. every year, The County Champion receives a paid trip to Sacramento to compete at the State level, and the State winner receives a paid trip to Washington D.C. for the the national finals.

POL is a free program that helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage, and compete for college scholarship funding. Nationwide, Poetry Out Loud has grown every year with millions of students participating across the country. California features the largest, most exciting competition of all!

Watch the 2019 competition!


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. Poetry Out Loud does not require full class periods and can be completed in 2-3 weeks.

Winners from each school competition will advance to a countywide competition.  County winners are treated to an unforgettable two days at the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento on March 15-16, 2019. The State Finals competition is usually held in the historic Senate Chamber (legislative calendar permitting) and is webcast and televised via the California Channel. The county champions are honored with Resolution with the Board of Supervisors.

At the state level, one winner will be selected to represent California in the national competition. The California State winner receives:

  • $200 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

  • $500 for their school to purchase literary materials

  • An opportunity to compete at the National Finals for college scholarship funds. The National Finals in Washington D.C. will be on April 27-29, 2020. Visit poetryoutloud.org for detailed information.


Schools, teachers, parents, and students can reach your county POL representatives here. Any public or private high school in the state is welcome and encouraged to participate. Homeschooled students may participate by joining in a registered high school's competition or by organizing a contest with other homeschooled students. Poetry Out Loud is accessible to students with disabilities. Teachers are encouraged to involve all students in Poetry Out Loud activities and can learn more about POL accessibility here.


The 2019-20 CA POL Teacher and School Registration Form should be completed by the designated Lead Teacher for each school. Completion of this form is required for participation in the official California Poetry Out Loud program and must be submitted prior to November 30, 2018.

Find complete information on Poems & Performance, Teaching Resources, and the Competition at poetryoutloud.org.

participating high schools

Since its inception in 2012, the following Santa Barbara County high schools have participated in Poetry Out Loud: Cabrillo High School, Carpinteria High School, , Dos Pueblos High School, Ernest Righetti High School, Laguna Blanca High School, Orcutt Academy, Pioneer Valley High School, Santa Barbara High School, Santa Maria High School

Poetry Out Loud - 2019 Santa Barbara County Regional Competition