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Students competing in Poetry Out Loud must choose poems approved by the national sponsors as eligible for competition. These poems are listed on the current national website. There are over 650 poems in the searchable database.
You can also search for poems that contain or are examples of specific poetic forms and terms:
If you or your teacher are also using the printed Poetry Out Loud Anthology of Poems, please note: a few of the poems in the Anthology do not appear in the current online database, but all poems in the Anthology are still eligible for competition this year.
Students competing at the Regional Finals must recite 2 poems.
At the State and National levels, students must prepare to recite 3 poems. Also, at the State and National levels, students are required to recite at least one poem that was written before the 20th century and one that is 25 lines or fewer. The same poem can fulfill both requirements at once (for example, Christina Rossetti’s “A Birthday”).
Please note: these requirements will not be enforced at the Regional Final, but students should keep them in mind when choosing poems. (If you win the Regional Finals, you will only have a few weeks to learn a third poem and meet the requirements for the State Finals!)