Poetry by Heart 2021

Classic Competition - 2 poems

Rules and recommendations for the CLASSIC two poem  competition

The CLASSIC competition is open to individuals in key stages 2 ,3, 4 and 5. A school or college can enter a winner for each key stage.

Contestants choose, learn and perform 2 poems from the Poetry By Heart website, one published before 1914 and one published in or after 1914.

The poems should be those chosen by the contestant although teachers and librarians may offer recommendations. Contestants may choose poems from any timeline – or any of the showcase collections – on the Poetry By Heart website. All these selections have been curated with specific age groups in mind so this may help to guide choices. Students may mix two poems from separate timelines or showcases, as long as there is one poem from each of the pre-1914 and post-1914 categories.

We only remind students, teachers, librarians and parents that reciting more advanced poems won’t offer any competitive advantage: an eight-year old struggling with Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ won’t get extra credit for her poem choice. A 17 year old A Level student would have to work quite hard to convince a judge that their choice of Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ – or a very simple six line children’s poem – was a wise choice for the key stage 5 national competition. But never say never – and what is most important is that the poem is right for the child or young person, and that they chose it.

For key stage 2 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A Poem 7+

For key stage 3 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A Poem 11+

For key stage 4 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A Poem 14+

For key stage 5 pupils, the recommended choices are set out for them in the Learning Zone (all free, no login needed) in Choose A poem 16+