Poetry Out Loud 2022

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. This year the school-wide competition level of the competition will be held virtually, with the county finals happening in person at Imagination Theater.

El Dorado County's Poetry Out Loud competition will be structured a bit differently this year, with students submitting their entries for the school-wide competition directly to Arts and Culture El Dorado, then the County Final competition being held in person.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Jordan@ArtsAndCultureElDorado.org.

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

Poetry Out Loud Flyer

Find Poems

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.
  • Videos must be uploaded to a file sharing platform with a link when submitted to us (ie: YouTube, Google Drive, Drop Box etc), and each recitation must be a separate link.
  • 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.

Recitation Requirements:

  • Students must begin by stating the title of the poem and the poet’s name, and the translator, if applicable.
  • A student’s own editorial comments before or after the poem are not allowed.
  • Poems must be recited from memory.

Filming requirements:

  • Film with a horizontal orientation.
  • Face the camera so it captures your head to mid-torso (medium shot).
  • Each recitation should be filmed in one single shot from one static angle.
  • Each recitation should have its own link when submitted to us.
  • Videos must be uploaded to a file sharing platform with a link when submitted to us (ie: YouTube, Google Drive, Drop Box etc), and each recitation must be a separate link.
  • The sound and picture must be clear.
  • Videos cannot be edited. Do not add music, graphics, titles, virtual backgrounds, or computer animation.
  • Use of professional recording studios is prohibited.
  • Each recitation requires its own separate video.

Submit your recitation videos

This form is not yet available.

Helpful Tips

Tips on reciting:

Tips for video recording:

Basics to keep in mind while recording:

  • Stand in front of a neutral background, if possible. Try to avoid wearing clothing in similar colors to the background.
  • Do not place light sources behind you to avoid being backlit.
  • Students may look directly into the camera, at a fixed spot, or at an imagined audience.
  • Make sure you are the only visible and audible person in the video.
  • Use a microphone, if possible. If the microphone is on the camera, position the camera close to you.
  • Start recording a few seconds before the recitation and stop recording a few seconds after the end.
  • Examples of student filmed POL recitations can be found on the POL YouTube page.



Video submission deadline

El Dorado County Finals

State Finalist Registration Deadline I - Recitation Lists
February 19

Poetry Ourselves Writing Submission Deadline
March 3

State Finalist Registration Deadline II - Videos
March 5

California Poetry Out Loud 2021 State Finals
March 11 - Adjudication
March 15 - Announcement of Winners

National Semifinals - Online
May 2

National Finals - Online
May 27

Questions? E-mail: Jordan@ArtsAndCultureElDorado.org.