• Poetry Out Loud Information and Guidelines


    The library will host the Poetry Out Loud contest before Christmas holidays.  Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by The Mississippi Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation.

  • Competing in Poetry Out Loud

    The Poetry Out Loud website www.poetryoutloud.org contains a wealth of information about competing in POL.  Below are a few highlights but not everything!  There are a number of recitation videos and helpful tips.  Please look at the website for more information! 

    Poem Selection

    All poems must be selected from the Poetry Out Loud print or online anthology, which is updated every summer. Check the website after September 1st to view the official POL anthology for the current school year. Only versions of poems from the official anthology may be used in the contest.  Find Poems

    Students must provide the titles and authors of their poems and the order in which they will be recited to the coordinator. Students may not change their poems or their order once submitted. This will enable the coordinator to have poems for the accuracy judge and prompter and evaluation sheets prepared.

    Number of Poems Required at Each Contest Level

    Classroom Level

    Students must prepare at least 1 poem to recite.

    School Finals Level

    Students must prepare 2 poems to recite.

    State and National Levels

    Students must prepare 3 poems to recite.*

    *At the state and national finals, students must have 3 poems prepared. One must be 25 lines or fewer, and one must be written before the 20th century. One poem may be used to meet both criteria, and may be the student’s third poem.

    Introducing and Reciting the Poem

    Competitors recite individually. The emcee should introduce students as they come to the stage to recite. It is the student’s job to identify the poem title and author, and, if necessary, the translator. (For example, “‘Mysticism for Beginners, by Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh.”). 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.


    Tips on Reciting 

    Listen to Poems

    Listen to Recitations


    Accuracy Score Sheet 

    Contest Evaluation Sheet

    Evaluation Criteria and Tips for Contestents


    Scoring Rubric


    Curriculum Standards


Last Modified on November 18, 2019