2024 Poetry Out Loud Resources
About Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition which 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. Typically the contest starts in the classroom/school, then moves to the county, state, and finally national level.
El Dorado County contest prizes:
- 1st place: $100 cash prize, and moves on to State Finals
- 2nd place: $75 cash prize
- 3rd place: $50 cash prize
California state contest prizes:
- $200 cash prize
- $500 for their school
National contest prizes:
- 1st place: $20,000
- 2nd place: $10,000
- 3rd place: $5,000
- 4th-12th places: $1,000
All poems must be selected from the Poetry Out Loud print or online anthology, which is updated every summer. Only versions of poems from the official anthology may be used in the contest. Click here to browse the anthology.
With the Poetry Out Loud app, you can easily find, save, and practice poems for the competition on your phone. Now available for download:
Poetry Out Loud Rules
- Poetry Out Loud is open to all El Dorado County high school students.
- All poems must be selected from the Poetry Out Loud print or online anthology.
- All students must choose two poems from the official anthology to recite.
- Students must recite their poem from memory.
- Students may not use props or wear costumes during their recitations.
- Include any notes made in the poem itself in your recitation. For example, in Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight by Vachel Linsday, the note "(In Springfield, Illinois)" at the top just under the author's name is part of the poem and must be included in your recitation. If you find yourself unsure if something should be included, ask.
It is the student’s job to identify the poem title and author, and, if necessary, the translator. (For example, “Brother, I’ve seen some” by Kabir, translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra). A few other notes:
- A student’s own editorial comments before or after the poem are not allowed.
- Epigraphs should be recited and their omission will affect the accuracy score.
- Footnotes should not be recited and their inclusion will affect the accuracy score.
- Stanza numbers and dedications are optional, and their inclusion or omission should not affect the accuracy score.
- Students must include the name of the translator, if applicable.
- The poem must be delivered from memory