Press Releases

Tennessee High School Students Invited to Enter 2019 TN Poetry Out Loud Competition

Nashville — The Tennessee Arts Commission invites all Tennessee public, private, and homeschool high school students to join the 2019 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud (POL) program. Students memorize and recite the works of classic and contemporary poets in a fun classroom competition. Each school will select a school winner who will then compete in Nashville for the title of State Champion. The competition showcases recitations of poetry selected from the POL anthology.

The POL State Competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, will be held at the Tennessee State Museum’s new Digital Learning Center March 1-2, 2019. First, second and third place winners will receive cash prizes along with funds to be used toward poetry materials for their school.

“Poetry Out Loud is an opportunity for Tennessee students to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage,” said Tennessee Arts Commission Executive Director Anne B. Pope. “We greatly appreciate the Tennessee State Museum for hosting this year’s POL Competition in their beautiful new building and thank them for this opportunity.”

“We are excited to offer our new Digital Learning Center to Tennessee’s Poetry Out Loud State Competition,” says Ashley Howell, Executive Director of the Tennessee State Museum. “We consider it a perfect fit. The history of Tennessee is filled with the rhythm of great writers and orators, many of whom are celebrated in our current exhibitions and educational programs. We look forward to providing a space for students to explore that history.”

Following state finals, the Tennessee State Champion and his or her teacher will proceed to the POL National Competition with an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The National Competition will award a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends, including a $20,000 award for the POL National Champion.

As the complementary materials are aligned with the National Council of Teachers of English – English Language Arts Standards, teachers of all subjects can teach the content by itself or in addition to other lessons. Any school or educator interested in holding a POL competition can find more information at, or email Meredith Callis at