Resources for Students

2019 POL State Champion Kendall Grimes with fellow State Finalists at the National Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, D.C..


Whether you are a first time participant, or a returning champion, the resources below will act as helpful tools as you prepare to take the stage! Your state coordinator, Meredith Callis is available for any extra questions you may have along the way. You can contact her at or by phone at (615) 532-5934.

Choosing your poem

There are over 900 contemporary and classical poems in the Poetry Out Loud anthology for students to chose from.  All competing students must memorize 3 poems that are found in the anthology. ONLY poems listed in the online anthology or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2017-2018 competition.

POEM ANTHOLOGY (2018-2019)

The following guidelines apply to 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.

Still having trouble deciding which poems to recite? Check out this video for a few helpful tips, as students and teachers discuss the best way to find a poem that speaks to you. 

Practicing your recitation

Nervous about reciting? Unsure of where to start? Don’t be—we have everything you need to help you perform a successful recitation. Below are some links that will help you prepare. Be sure to check out Poetry Out Loud’s official YouTube channel for some helpful videos!

Tips for Great Recitations (Scoring Criteria)

Listen to Poetry

Videos from Previous POL Competitions

Official POL YouTube Channel

2017 Poetry Out Loud Winners, L to R: Marquavious Moore, state champion; Addisyn Bryant, first runner-up; Brennen Humpreys, second runner-up; Michelle Mellard, third runner-up.
2017 Poetry Out Loud Winners, L to R: Marquavious Moore, state champion; Addisyn Bryant, first runner-up; Brennen Humphreys, second runner-up; Michelle Mellard, third runner-up.

Award Information 

Each school winner is invited to the POL State Finals, in Nashville, TN. Your teacher can register you both for the competition by filling out the State Finals Registration Form. Following the State Final, the first runner-up student and school will each receive $500. The second and third runner up will each receive $150. The Tennessee state champion will receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington, DC to represent Tennessee at the national finals and compete against 52 other high school students from across the country.