Poetry Out Loud Mendocino County

Lesson Introduction

Poetry Out Loud 2022…

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

In order to follow the guidelines set by the National and State Poetry Out Loud directors, the 2022 Poetry Out Loud Mendocino County Finals will take place virtually. This means students will submit their poem recitations as video presentations. 

The winner of Mendocino County POL will advance to the virtual state finals in Sacramento, with dates TBA.

More information on the National Finals can be found here.

How to Find a Poem

The NEA has just rolled out a new website design at poetryoutloud.org. The best new additions are the ability to search for poems “by collection” and filter “by subject” — this is something teachers have wanted for quite a while, so this should make it more interesting and engaging for students to explore the site, looking for poems that are meaningful to them.

Browse Poems:  https://www.poetryoutloud.org/search/?type=collection

Watch – choosing a poem below:

Contact Me for Individual Mentoring

If you are serious about winning and want to do some extra credit work outside of class, send me an email and I’d love to work with you.

How to Submit POL Videos for the County Competition

DEADLINE – the sooner the better, but Wednesday, February 16, 5pm is the hard deadline.

Poets:  Two memorized poems (selected from the Poetryoutloud.org website) are required to participate in the countywide competition.  Please create each of your poems as a separate video (not to poems in one video) and send two clearly marked/named files.

For example, if I attended Point Arena High School and was reciting Fire & Ice by Robert Frost, my file might look like this:  blake-more-fire-ice-robert-frost-pahs.mp3

Video Introduction: When recording your poem, make sure you start by clearly and slowly saying your full name, your school, the name of the poem and the name of the poet, then pause and begin your poem recitation. 

Recording Device: You can record your submissions on a camera phone, computer, zoom screen, or whatever device you prefer. Keep in mind that designing a background and being able to look into the camera are essential. (You will find other video recording tips at the end of this email)


How to Submit Videos to Mendocino POL:

The easiest way is to use WeTransfer to send it to blake@snakelyone.com. No need to sign in to that app unless you want to.


Step-by-Step Submission Instructions:

  1. ·      As guest, go to https://wetransfer.com/upload
  2. ·      Agree to terms of service 
  3. ·      Click plus sign to Add poem video from your Files
  4. ·      Wait for file to upload
  5. ·      In the “TO” email box, write:  blake@snakelyone.com (hit return)
  6. ·      Put your email in the next box below
  7. ·      In Message box, add your name, school, grade and the title of the video you are sending (you will be sending two videos). Very important!
  8. ·      Click “Transfer”
  9. ·      A code will be sent to your email address so you must go to your email inbox to get the verification code
  10. ·      Retrieve code from your email and fill in appropriate box
  11. ·      Click Verify

That’s it, you are done! You will receive a confirmation email in your inbox when your file has sent and another email when we download the file.


Audio & Video Inspiration

POL Links


Poetry Out Loud Website:

Browse Poems: 

Recitation Videos from Years Past:

Review the judging criteria and the“judges guide”:

Other Resources & Teaching Materials: https://www.capoetryoutloud.org/resources

Poetry Ourselves (original poems can also be submitted): https://www.capoetryoutloud.org/ourselves

POL Mobile app

POL Mobile App!!

POL has a free POL app! With this app, students can easily find, save, and practice poems for the competition on their phones or tablets. 

Available for download:

   App Store (iOS)

   Google Play Store (Android)


Importance of Emotional Tone

Importance of Emotional Tone


o   “Conveying emotion with Hamlet”

o   Poems read by professional actors

Sophia Elena Soberon

    Bilingual/Bilingüe by Rhina P. Espaillat. 

Sophia Soberon’s polished stage presence and clear voice offset the poem’s conflicted subject matter and its themes of alienation and uncertainty. Her interpretation embodies a poised, reflective narrator who is confident in two languages where another may stumble. Keys: Physical Presence, Voice and Articulation.

William Farley

Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams.

William Farley successfully navigates the duality of tone in this bittersweet poem. His eye contact and body language—at times intense and direct, at times softened and playful—reveal his clear grasp of the poem’s melancholy undercurrent amidst its whimsy. Farley provides an intimate and ultimately endearing portrait of the narrator, captivating the audience by what it means to be alone and to be human. Keys: Physical Presence, Evidence of Understanding.

Madison Niermeyer

I Am Waiting by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

One challenge of this poem is not to make it sound wordy and repetitive with its refrain. Niermeyer skillfully varies her performance enough to avoid monotony and so capitalizes on the refrain. She manages the many allusions and communicates well the tricky tone between earnestness and satire. Niermeyer seamlessly blends her spare use of body language and gestures with the poem’s language and intent—they are never distracting, but only fitting and natural in their placement. Keys: Dramatic Appropriateness, Voice and Articulation.

Best Filming Practices

Please record in “landscape,” or with stabilizing phone in a horizontal orientation rather than vertical or “portrait.” That will increase the visual real estate and stay cohesive from video to video.


  • Record in the shade or while it’s cloudy 
  • Be mindful of your background
  • Record while facing windows
  • Indoors? Or at night? Try with a lamp bouncing it’s light off a neutral colored wall


  • Intense Backlighting (for example recording with a window behind you without additional light to illuminate the Poet) 
  • Recording outdoors in full sunlight with harsh shadows on face/hat or with shadowing or sunglasses hiding faces
  • Avoid recording outside if it’s windy/breezy

Of course, these are all rules that can be “broken” if someone wants to take artistic license with their lighting & environment during their performance. 

How to Film a POL Recitation for a Virtual Contest