Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation program initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts in concert with The Poetry Foundation and sponsored in California by the California Arts Council (CAC).The program is facilitated in Ventura County by the Ventura County Arts Council (VCAC). The goal of Poetry Out Loud is to advance spoken poetry among high school students through oral interpretations of published poems. VCAC organizes the county competition and oversees distribution of Information about the program to the county’s public and private high schools. English teachers are encouraged to include a poetry unit in their classes and a competition in their respective schools. Local professional poets are available at no charge to coach participants in preparation for the competition for up to five hours at each school. School winners are entered into the county competition. The county competition is moved around the county to give visibility to the program. The county winner goes to the state competition. The state winner advances to the national competition in Washington DC. Prizes are awarded.
The CAC grants some funds to the VCAC to cover some program expenses and poetry coaches also receive some reimbursement from California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). We also receive support for POL from Sage Publications, an academic publisher headquartered in Thousand Oaks.
Rylie White reads Dana Gioia’s poem, Pity The Beautiful. This is part of the Ventura County Poetry Out Loud competition that took place on February 6, 2013 at the Santa Paula Theater Center in Santa Paula, California.