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Submissions are open for our Poetry Out Loud contest!

Are you in 9th-12th grade? Do you love poetry and performing? Submissions are now open for the Meridian Library’s Poetry Out Loud contest!

What is Poetry Out Loud?

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition that encourages 9th-12th grade students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. The Idaho Commission on the Arts joins other state arts agencies in partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to support Poetry Out Loud. This year, the Meridian Library District is hosting a contest!

How do I compete?

To enter, choose a poem from this list, make a video of your recitation, and submit it to us for judging. Memorize your poem and practice delivering it as a performance. A good poetry recitation is more than just saying the words in the right order. Your face and tone will contribute to the performance of the work. Check out some past performances here to get a feel for poetry performance. 

Make sure to review the requirements and tips below before submitting. Submit your video by 7 p.m. on Monday, February 1. 

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.
  • 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.
  • For video submission contests, each recitation requires its own separate video.

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.


  • 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.
  • For video submission contests, check with the contest organizer if there are file size limits to
  • videos and if there is a preferred naming convention to save your videos.
  • Examples of student filmed POL recitations can be found on the POL YouTube page.

What happens after I submit my video? 

Videos will be streamed for contestants, their friends and family, and the public during the Meridian Library’s Virtual Showcase on February 11 at 7 p.m., when we will announce the winner! 

The winner of the Meridian Library contest will move on to the Poetry Out Loud Idaho State Semifinal. Competitors at the state level will need to perform three poems. Recitation videos for the Idaho State Semifinal are due by February 24, 2021. Meridian Library staff will work with the winner to make sure they meet all the requirements to compete. 

I have another question!

Please email Jenny at