Poetry By Heart is a pioneering national competition designed to encourage pupils aged 14-18 and at school and college in England to learn and to recite poems by heart. Not in an arm-waving, props-supported thespian extravaganza, but as the outward and audible manifestation of an inwardly-understood and enjoyed poem.
Poetry By Heart successfully engages young people from diverse social backgrounds and all types of school in personal discovery of the pleasures of poetry. Each pupil is challenged to memorise and recite two poems – one published before 1914 and one in or after 1914. Pupils choose these from the timeline anthology of over 600 years of poetry on this website. In 2015, at county level and beyond, contestants will recite a third poem from a special collection of World War 1 poems as part of the centenary commemorations.
The competition is a pyramid of participation from individual classrooms to whole school/college contests, then county contests, regional semi-finals and the grand final, to be held at Homerton College, Cambridge in March 2015. In the process, pupils foster deep personal connections with the poems chosen and bring poetry alive for their friends, families and communities.
ELSA Inter-school Competition
The competition is open to Years 10, 11, 12, 13 students (Grades 9-12). School/college contests will take place any time during the Autumn/Winter. Your aim is to find two students in each grade in your own school, to become your Poetry By Heart school/college champions. This counts as a contest. You can organize your school contest as you wish; it’s as big or small as suits your school!
France Final Poetry By Heart school champions then attend the Paris inter-school competition at Ecole Jeannine Manuel. Students must prepare to recite two poems.
UK Final The France finalist is invited to recite at the UK Poetry by Heart final in the British Library. ELSA covers the cost of the trip.
Fees This event is open to member and non member schools. All schools must register to participate in the competition. Participating fee: