Poetry by Heart 2021

About the competition

Poetry by Heart is a national poetry recitation competition for schools and colleges in England. It’s also a website for teaching and learning about poetry – by heart and out loud, and with plenty of choice for young people to explore poems and find the ones they love.

In Poetry By Heart 2020-21 children and young people aged 7-18, in key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 choose poems they love, learn them by heart and perform them in school or college. There are 3 ways of taking part in Poetry By Heart.

The CLASSIC competition is open to individual students in key stages 2 ,3, 4 and 5. They choose 2 poems from the Poetry By Heart website, one published before 1914 and one published in or after 1914. They compete in a school/college competition with at least 3 competitors in each key stage. Schools/colleges may then put forward their key stage winner(s) for the national competition. We judge the performances at county and regional levels and select 10 national finalists in each key stage to invite to the national finalists event at the British Library in Spring 2021 (subject to Covid-19 contingencies). There we will crown a national champion in each key stage. In 2021, one national finalist from key stage 4 or 5 will be chosen to represent England in a special student performance showcase at the hugely prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize awards ceremony in Toronto in June 2021, with all costs for one pupil and one teacher or other chaperone provided.

CLASSIC competition rules and details are hereDeadline: 28th February 2021.

The CELEBRATION competition is also open to students in key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5. It’s for individuals, small groups (2-5 students) and large groups (6+ students) who choose 1 poem to learn from the Poetry By Heart website – any poet, any time period. They perform it by heart in front of others in school/college. Schools/colleges may then put forward one entry per category for the national Celebration competition. We select the 10 best entries nationally and invite these students to come and perform in a special Celebration showcase at the national finalists event at the British Library in Spring 2021 (subject to Covid-19 contingencies).

CELEBRATION competition rules and details are hereDeadline: 28th February 2021.

The new web SHOWCASE is for students in any key stage. If a Classic competition or a Celebration event really doesn’t suit what you’re doing in your setting, or you simply can’t choose who to enter, or the timing doesn’t work, or if your students want to recite their own poems or poems that are not on the Poetry By Heart website – then you can still join in our celebration of poetry out loud and by heart with a Showcase upload. Each school/college can submit up to 9 video performances – any poem, any style, any age, any number of participants and we’ll feature as many as we can in the Performance Gallery on the Poetry By Heart website during the summer term.

Deadline: 31st March 2021.

For all questions, talk to us on 0117 905 5338, email us on info@poetrybyheart.org.uk, or sign up via email for our next Virtual Staffroom.