Atlanta, GA - On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, Governor Brian P. Kemp and Georgia's Poet Laureate, Chelsea Rathburn, in collaboration with Georgia Council for the Arts, announced the winner and finalists of the sixth annual Poet Laureate's Prize.

“I am honored to recognize these distinguished students who have shown tremendous talent and creativity through poetry,” said Governor Kemp. “Their poems put a spotlight on the importance of literary arts across our state.”

The prize is awarded for an original poem written by a Georgia high school student. This annual program is designed to encourage students in grades nine through twelve to write original poems and engage in the art form of poetry. The winner and four finalists who were selected by Chelsea Rathburn were honored by Governor Brian P. Kemp and the Poet Laureate at the Georgia State Capitol on June 4, 2019.

“Reading the submissions to the Poet Laureate Prize, I was amazed by both the quality and variety of poems being written by students across the state. It’s clear that Georgia’s young poets have much to say about their experiences, their communities, and the issues that matter to them, and that they have teachers who are dedicated to the literary arts,” said Georgia's Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn. “What sets our prize winner and finalists apart is their awareness of what poetry can do over other forms of written expression. Their poems use surprising language, charged images, and careful, expressive lines. I’m excited to see where their writing takes them in the future.”

“The art of writing, and the ability to convey thought and emotion that compels readers in thirty lines or less, are skills that will serve these students throughout their lives,” said Karen Paty, Executive Director of Georgia Council for the Arts. “Every year, I am amazed by the work submitted by young poets across the state, and we are incredibly proud to have this opportunity to honor the talent, effort, and creativity of this remarkable group of students.”


Marylou Sutherland
“until I am”
12th Grade
Hillgrove High School
Marietta, Georgia


Rohini Bose
12th Grade
Lambert High School
Suwanee, Georgia

Aanika Eragam
“Coconut Promises”
9th Grade
Milton High School
Milton, Ga.

Jenna Keeler
“love letter to the girl I will be”
12th Grade
Cass High School
White, Georgia

Sarah Lao
10th Grade
The Westminster Schools
Atlanta, Georgia

Through a partnership with Atlanta Magazine, all winning and finalist poems are featured on their website. Click here to read the poems.

All Georgia high school students are encouraged to participate in this annual competition. Students interested in participating in next year's program should check for details about the 2020 competition on the Georgia Council for the Arts website in the fall of 2019. The annual submission deadline is at the beginning of spring. Click here to learn more about the program.

About Georgia Council for the Arts

Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) is a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development that works to cultivate the growth of vibrant, thriving Georgia communities through the arts. GCA provides grant funding and statewide programs and services to support the vital arts industry, preserve the state's cultural heritage, increase tourism, and nurture strong communities. Funding for GCA is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and National Endowment for the Arts. Visit

Contact Information:

Cody Hall, Press Secretary