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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.


Invitation to Participate in the 2015-16 Poetry Out Loud Program!


Key Dates for the 2015/16 Poetry Out Loud Competition

September-November 2015 - School Registration (ongoing)

November 6, 2015      Last day to register for Poetry Out Loud     

January  8, 2016         Last day for school-wide competitions      

January 15, 2016        Last day for Regional Finals Registration

January 25, 2016        Last day for Regional Workshop Registration

February  1, 2016       Southern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m., Portland Public Library)

February  5, 2016       Snow date for Southern Regional Workshop

February  8, 2016       Northern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m., Hampden Academy)

February  25, 2016     Snow date for Northern Regional Workshop

February 10, 2016      Southern Maine Regional Finals (City Theater, Biddeford. 3 p.m. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.)

February 11, 2016      Snow date Southern Maine Regional Finals                   

February 29, 2016      Northern Maine Regional Finals (Performing Arts Center, Hampden Academy, 3 p.m. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.)

March 1, 2016            Snow date for Northern Maine Regional Finals

March 15, 2016          Maine State Finals (3 p.m., Waterville Opera House)
                                   The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

March 16, 2016          Snow date for Maine State Finals

May 2-4, 2016            Poetry Out Loud National Finals (Washington, D.C.)


Rose Horowitz is the 2015 Maine State Champion 

The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce Rose Horowitz of Mt. Ararat High School as the 2015 State Poetry Out Loud Champion. Rose was among a field of nearly 10,000 students from across the state. The title was decided at the State Final held at the Waterville Opera House on March 11. The first runner‐up was Ella Werner from Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine. 

Horowitz impressed a top panel of judges to become the 2015 State Champion reciting three poems during the competition: “Lovers’ Infiniteness” by John Donne, “Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth, and “Entirely” by Louis MacNeice.  She surprised herself—she couldn’t even believe that she made it to the finals.  But she was a natural on stage.  "Like my actual character is very shy and scared and I have a hard time talking," she says. "I actually do Poetry Out Loud because I can be someone else and can be confident." 

As the Maine State Champion, Horowitz will represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on April 28 and 29 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 the national title and a total of $50,000 in awards, including a grand prize of $20,000, and school stipends for the purchase of poetry. All prizes, as well as all materials for running this popular program in high schools across the nation, come from the National Endowment for the Arts and their partner in Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Foundation.  Horowitz received an award of $200 and an all‐expenses paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship.  Horowitz’s school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.  First runner‐up Ella Werner received $100, with $200 for her school library.  

Supporters can cheer on Rose through a live, one‐time only webcast of the National Finals on April 28‐29, 2015 at

More About the 2015 State Finals

In addition to Horowitz and Werner, the Maine Arts Commission thanks all of the student reciters who made the 2015 competition an amazing event:

Mohammad Hashmi, State Finalist – Bangor High School
Josef Biberstein, Regional Champion – Freeport High School
Mariah Lang, State Finalist – Gardiner Area High School
Emma Curnin, Regional Champion – Kents Hill High School
Charlotte Eisenberg, Regional Champion –North Yarmouth Academy
Emma Weissenfels, State Finalist –Oak Hill High School
Owen Sinclair, Regional Champion –Rangeley Lakes Regional School
Isabella Labbe, Regional Champion – Waterville Senior High School

Back row, l to r: Owen Sinclair, Isabella Labbe, Ella Werner, Mohammad Hashmi, Josef Biberstein, Emma Curnin, Rose Horowitz, Charlotte Eisenberg.
Kneeling, l to r: Mariah Lang, Emma Weissenfels


Thank you to Jennifer Rooks, Public Affairs Host and Producer at Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), who served as the event’s emcee. Please click here for a report and audio clip from MPBN radio’s Morning Edition program, which provides the Round III recitations by Mohammed, Mariah, Rose, Emma (Weissenfels) and Ella.



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