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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 and private high schools in Maine as well as high school homeschooling populations.

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 ten students are ultimately selected to recite at the state finals. One student, the state champion, moves on from the state finals 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.


The Maine Arts Commission has produced a short video highlighting the 2015 Maine State Finals.


Key Dates for the 2016/17 Poetry Out Loud Competition

September-November 2016 - School Registration (closed)

November 7, 2016      Last day to register for Poetry Out Loud     

January  9, 2017         Last day for school-wide competitions

January 17, 2017        Last day for Regional Finals Registration  

January 23, 2017        Last day for Workshop Registration

January 26, 2017        Northern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m., Hampden Academy)

January 31, 2017        Snow date for Northern Regional Workshop

February 10, 2017      Southern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m., Portland Public Library)

February 27, 2017      Northern Maine Regional Finals (Performing Arts Center, Hampden Academy, 3 p.m. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.)

February 28, 2017      Southern Maine Regional Finals (Garland Auditorium,Thornton Academy, 3 p.m. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.)

March 2, 2017            Snow date Southern Maine Regional Finals   

March 3, 2017            Snow date Northern Maine Regional Finals            

March 13, 2017          Maine State Finals (3 p.m., Waterville Opera House)

                                   The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

March 14, 2017          Snow date for Maine State Finals

April 24-26, 2017        Poetry Out Loud National Finals (Washington, D.C.)


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