Poetry by Heart Scotland

Poetry by Heart Scotland

We're accepting school registrations for Poetry by Heart Scotland 2017-18. Below you can find information about the competition, including links to footage from the previous finals. Details of how to register are below - it's very easy and completely free. To get started, take a look at our handy Poetry by Heart Scotland guide.

We made a short film about the Poetry by Heart Scotland 2016 final, featuring contributions by participants, teachers and judges.

Listen to 2016 Poetry by Heart Scotland winners, Ellie Mackay and Craig McCorquodale with Rachel McCrum on The Janice Forsyth Show!

Liz Lochhead, Scots Makar, is a keen enthusiast for learning poetry by heart. She made a short film with us where she talks about her experiences of learning a poem, using Burns' 'A Man's a Man for a' that'. You can also read Liz's tips for learning poetry by heart.


REGISTRATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THE 2017-18 Poetry by Heart Scotland competition! Participation in the competition is free of charge to all schools. To register your school or to ask any questions just email rose.harrison@spl.org.uk and we'll send out your resource pack. For more information, take a look at our handy Poetry by Heart Scotland guide.

Competition structure

Poetry by Heart Scotland has a pyramid structure: class heats are optional if you have lots of keen reciters but all participating schools have an official school competition. School competition winners participate in regional heats, which this year are taking part in Universities across Scotland. The winners of all the regional heats take part in the national finals in March 2018.  Minnesota Poetry Out Loud image by Nic McPhee  

The poems

Students have to memorise and perform two poems - one written before 1914 and one after 1914. One of the poems must be by a Scottish poet or a poet resident in Scotland. You can find the permitted competition poems free at www.poetrybyheart.org.uk or on this site at our Poetry by Heart Scotland pre-1914 and post-1914 tags. Why not choose one poem from each website?

Download resources

When you register, we will send out a pack by post containing all of the documents you need to run PBHS in your school. Here are links so that you can download some of the information yourselves: