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Poetry Out Loud




 About Poetry Out Loud

Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music among our youth. Poetry Out Loud builds on this momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have formed a partnership with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Registration is open to all public, private, parochial and home school high schools in Maine.

The competition itself is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. It begins in Maine’s schools where school champions are selected to compete in two regional finals at which twenty students are ultimately selected to appear at the state final. One student moves on from the state final to represent Maine at the national finals in Washington D.C., where students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico will compete for a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books.


Key Dates for the 2014/15 Poetry Out Loud Competition

September-November 7, 2014  -  School Registration

November 7, 2014    Last day to register for Poetry Out Loud

January  9, 2015       Last day for school-wide competitions

January 16, 2015      Last day for Regional Finals Registration 

January 26, 2015      Last day to register for Regional Workshops

February 4, 2015      Southern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m.) (Portland Public Library)
                                  Snow Date:  February 5, 2015
February 9, 2015      Northern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m.) (Hampden Academy)
                                  Snow Date:  February 10, 2015
February 11, 2015    Southern Maine Regional Finals (3 p.m.) (City Theater, Biddeford)
                                  Snow Date:  February 12, 2015 
February 25, 2015    Northern Maine Regional Finals (3 p.m.)
                                  (Performing Arts Center, Hampden Academy)
                                  Snow Date:  February 27, 2015
March 11, 2015         Maine State Finals (3 p.m.) (Waterville Opera House)
                                  Snow Date:  March 12, 2015 

April 28-29, 2015      Poetry Out Loud National Finals (Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C.)


Charlotte Feinberg is the 2014 Maine State Champion 

The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce Charlotte Feinberg of Gorham High School as the 2014 State Poetry Out Loud Champion. The State Runner-up is Thalia Muyderman from Waynflete School in Portland. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.

After surviving classroom, school wide and regional level competitions, 19 state finalists gathered at the Waterville Opera House in Waterville to recite three rounds of poetry from memory. Charlotte Feinberg was ultimately selected as state champion and will represent the State of Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in April in Washington, D.C.

Feinberg impressed a top panel of judges to become the 2014 State Champion reciting three poems during the competition: "The Pomegranate and the Big Crowd” by Alberto Rios, "Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller, and "When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats. Reflecting upon her experience in Poetry Out Loud, she said: “The entire process allowed me to understand and truly love the poems that I have been performing. I’ll always have a connection to my poems and a true appreciation for the power of the spoken word.” 


The Maine Arts Commission thanks all the students that made the 2014 competition an amazing event:

Caleigh Grogan - Bangor High School
Kobe Cancel - Carrabec High School
Julia Cornell - Catherine McAuley High School
Joel Kahn - Deering High School
Emma Beyor - Erskine Academy
Josef Biberstein - Freeport High School
Matthew Clark - Gardiner Area High School
Noah Gardner - Hampden Academy
Zanna Spinney - Kennebunk High School
Emma Johnson Curnin - Kents Hill School
Abigail Bergdoll - Maine Central Institute
Emily Lagace - Messalonskee High School
Rebecca Dow - Mt. Abram Regional High School
Isabelle Fall - Mt. Ararat High School
Charlotte Eisenberg - North Yarmouth Academy
Ari Jihan - Searsport District High School
Thalia Muyderman - Waynflete School
Jacob Sperber - Yarmouth High School

To view the previous years competition results click here.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, please contact Argy Nestor, director of arts education at the Maine Arts Commission, at 207/287-2713 or by email at