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Poetry Recitation Competition and What You Need to Know

Poetry Recitation Competition and What You Need to Know

“Poetry Recitation is about conveying a poem’s sense with its language. All words of the poem must be pronounced correctly, paying attention to the volume, rhythm and intonation to enhance the recitation.

A strong performance will rely on a powerful internalization of the poem rather than distracting dramatic gestures”.


Division of Co-curriculum and Arts
Ministry of Education, Malaysia
25th February 2015

Poetry in Motion

‘Tis the season to be poetic.. tra la la la laaa… la la.. la.. laaaa~ Poetry season is back! And this year it kicks start early. Like… super early. And I like it!

Poetry recitation competition is not something totally new to us. By us here I mean Malaysians, schools, teachers, students, pupils and thesaurus. Hahaha. Back then, Choral Speaking was a thing, along with Storytelling and Public Speaking. And they still are! However, nowadays we are moving farther and digging deeper towards language appreciation. A new addition to the trio, was Scrabble competition. And not to forget, my all-time favourite – Poetry Recitation Competition.

Well I’m not here to discuss the history of poetry. It might bore you guys. Hihihi. We can do that later if you insist. But now, I want to share the key points of the rules and regulations, and guidelines of the competition. Be advised that everything I share here is true to the revised edition of the 2015 concept paper of poetry recitation competition for primary schools by Ministry of Education, Malaysia. If there’s any new thing on the latest edition or a revised version, I’ll update this post a.s.a.p.  Take note as there are certain points that separate the concept paper for primary from the secondary version. We’ll go into that later.


poem movie quote
meaningful quote from Dead Poet Society via

But, first! The basics.

  • This competition is open to pupils of government-aided primary schools from Year 4 to Year 6 only. However the school can allow Year 3 pupil(s) to participate if they are from “under enrolled” schools.


  • Each team comprises members from the same school. A team should comprise 2 pupils. Each team should be accompanied by a teacher-in-charge. By far, each participating school can only send one team to represent and compete. (I wish we can send more than just one team per school. The more the merrier! ^^”)


  • A presentation MUST be no less than 4 minutes and not more than 6 minutes. What will happen if we don’t meet this requirement? Kiss some of your marks goodbye already. Wuwuu..


  • Points will be awarded according to the score sheet. (Refer link at the end of this post for appendix)


  • The decision of the judges is final.  Individual marks will not be disclosed.


The Participants

  • Each team should comprise 2 pupils. Each team should be accompanied by a teacher-in-charge.
  • A team can be a combo of two pupils of the same gender (male-male or female-female) or different gender (male-female).
  • Participants must complete the required forms before competing.
  • Pupils must be in formal school uniform when competing.
  • Participants must not refer to any notes or printed materials during the presentation.


The Poem

  • The poem must be entirely authentic and original and must never have been published or have won a prize in any other competition prior to this competition.


  • The text of the poem will be based on themes decided by the organizers. (2018’s themes for primary schools are killers…)


  • Must not touch on sensitive issues, such as race, religion, stereotyping, politics etc.


  • Type and print the poem on A4 paper (Times New Roman / Arial, font size 12).


  • Friendly reminder; please prepare more than 3 copies of the poem. Bring all copies to the competition. Thank me later.


  • It is highly recommended that poems are written:
    – in metre or verse expressing various emotions;
    – using a variety of techniques including metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia (to name a few)
    – based on activities of language such as repetition, metre and rhyme (to distinguish prose from verse);
    – with a good dose of imagery and verse association to convey emotions quickly and clearly;
    – in stanzas that convey the specified theme.


The Presentation

  1. Participants must not refer to any notes or printed materials during the presentation.
  2. Recite the poem as it is on the judge’s copy.
  3. Don’t present a commentary of the poem.
  4. Start the recitation by mentioning the title and the writer of the poem.
  5. No inclusion of singing, music, props or artificial sound effects. (If your poem is sad then it rains somehow during the presentation.. boy.. God loves you/your kids so much)
  6. A theatrical performance of the poem is not allowed.
  7. A strong performance will rely on a powerful internalization of the poem rather than distracting dramatic gestures.
  8. Be confident. Be at (your) best!


Notes and Reminders

Teachers, please get the forms done as soon as possible. All the surat akuan kesihatan, surat kebenaran ibu bapa, salinan surat beranak / kad pengenalan etc etc are very important. A team or the competitors can be denied from taking part in the competition, or disqualified, for not completing the required details, forms and/or information. No joke. Huhu

The input from the concept paper is valid until further notification or revision from the Ministry of Education. However, do ask the organizers. Whether or not they have any ‘ground rules’ for the competition, for example the use of microphones and/or the quantity of the mics, the quarantine room for participants, method that’ll be used to indicate time and time limit, and such.

Don’t forget to enjoy the performances! Wohooo~



You can read and download the concept paper here. Feel free to ask or comment anything. I welcome your thoughts and say. =) All the best, guys!!


carpe diem poem quote
Carpe Diem (Dead Poet Society) via



2 thoughts on “Poetry Recitation Competition and What You Need to Know”

  • I just need some clarification on the time for poetry recitation should start when the students introduce the title n poet or when they start the recitation? The Technical officer here says when they introduce the title n poet but I need a confirmation please

    • The timing starts the moment a word is spoken. The concept paper says they should introduce the title of the poem, and the writer. By right, the timekeeper shall start the clock on the very first sound uttered. Be it the recitation or the introduction. =)

      Some participants prefer to start their presentation with greetings. I however, don’t really recommend that.

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