The NJPOL and the National POL websites have poetry choice criteria, but keep the following in mind:

  • Regardless of how many poems you recited in a classroom or school competition, you must have three poems to participate at the Regional, State, and National Competitions.
  • All poems must be chosen from either the National POL printed anthology, or from the National POL website. If you are choosing poems from the National website, note that the national contest will remove poems from competition from time-to-time. You must check back at the website after September 1 to make sure the poem you have chosen is allowed in competition. All poems in the printed POL Anthology are allowed as of this writing.
  • Of the three poems:
    • One poem must be 25 lines or fewer
    • One poem must be written before the 20th Century (prior to 1900).
    • A single poem can be used to meet both requirements.
  • Make sure you understand the judging criteria (on the National POL website). Along with the judges who are looking at your performance, there is a specific judge who looks at accuracy. The contest expects the poems to be recited letter perfect, points are deducted from scores if they are not. This also goes for titles and epigraphs in poems. The epigraph must be recited as part of the poem.
  • Degree of difficulty is no longer scored directly in performance, but is taken into account in a general score. See the national website for further guidance on this.