Poetry Out Loud is a dynamic, fun, interactive way to teach poetry and meet English/language arts requirements for high school students.
Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest presented by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry, recitation and performance building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form. Designed for high school students, it is a free program that encourages young performers to learn about great American poems. Through memorization and competitive performance, the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and improve their reading comprehension scores. The Poetry Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission provide all the necessary materials for sponsoring a Poetry Out Loud contest in your school. Contact Danielle Brown at (615) 532-5934 or email her for information.
All competing students need to memorize 3 poems that are found in the Poetry Out Loud online anthology. Each year poems are retired so please check here to ensure your poem is eligible.
The number of poems a student recites may differ by level of competition. At the classroom level, in the interest of time, teachers may elect to have students recite only one or two poems. We suggest that a school competition should require at least two poems by each participant. Students must have three poems prepared for state and national contests.
Complete rules are outlined in the teacher’s guide, but include the following guidelines for students competing in regional, state and national contests.
- One of the three poems must be written before the 20th century.
- One must be 25 lines or shorter.
- One poem may satisfy both criteria.
The Tennessee state winning student will receive $1000 and a trip to Washington, DC to represent Tennessee at the national finals and compete against 52 other high school students from across the county and its territories. The winning teacher will receive $2000 in support to attend the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington, DC. The first runner-up student and school will each receive $500. The second and third runner up will each receive $150.
A total of $50,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends are awarded at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship award for the National Champion.
Poetry Out Loud is entering its ninth exciting year in Tennessee. Poetry Out Loud is administered by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Contact Danielle Brown at (615) 532-5934 or email her for information. The Poetry Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission provide all the necessary materials for sponsoring a Poetry Out Loud contest in your school.