Printer-friendly version
Albert Schultz explains the rules

Poetry In Voice is open to high schools across Canada and to CEGEPs in Quebec.



  • Students must be attending a school in Canada.
  • No student may be excluded from participation in this competition on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.
  • Schools may determine eligibility for classroom- and school-level Poetry In Voice contests pursuant to local law.


  • Students must be in grades 9–12. In Quebec, students must be in secondary III, IV, V, or in CEGEP.
  • Homeschooled students must make arrangements to compete at a participating high school in their area.
  • A teacher must register with Poetry In Voice in order for students at their school to participate in the Online Semifinals and National Finals and win prizes.
  • A school can have one, two, or three students compete in the Online Semifinals; that is, one student in each prize stream: English, Bilingual, and French. 
  • A student can only compete in one prize stream in a given year.
  • A National Champion (a student who places first in the English, French, or Bilingual stream) is not eligible to compete in the same prize stream in subsequent years.


  • All poems must be selected from the Poetry In Voice / Les voix de la poesie anthology.
  • A student who is competing in the English or the French prize stream at the Online Semifinals or the National Finals must meet the following criteria with their three chosen poems:
    1. One must be 25 lines or shorter
    2. One must be written before the 20th century

One of a student's three poems can be used to meet both criteria.

  • Students competing in the Bilingual prize stream must select two poems:
    1. One poem in English
    2. One poem in French

No other criteria govern that student’s poem selections.


  • Poems must be memorized and recited as they appear in the Poetry In Voice / Les voix de la poesie anthology, including any epigraphs.
  • A student must start their recitation by saying the title of the poem and the poet’s name. A student’s editorial comments before or after a poem are not allowed.
  • The titles and the order of students’ poems must be given in advance to the contest coordinators. Students may not change them once they are submitted.
  • Students recite their poems in rounds: each student recites their first poem, then each student recites their second poem, and then, in some cases, their third poem.


  • Students’ recitations must be assessed according to the Poetry In Voice evaluation criteria, and students must be assigned an accuracy score at every level of the contest.
  • Accuracy judges must evaluate students’ recitations against the poems as they appear on our website.
  • Judges should not convene to discuss performances. Rankings will be based solely on evaluation sheets submitted by judges.
  • Judges may not reconsider their scores after submitting them.
  • Scoring is cumulative. The scores from all rounds should be added together to determine the winner.
  • In the event of a tie, the tied student with the highest overall performance score should win; if that also results in a tie, then look to the highest accuracy score.