Poetry Out Loud Resources

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.

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.
  • 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.

Helpful Tips

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