Poetry Out Loud Workshops

The purpose of the regional workshops is to guide high school students and their teachers to a better understanding of poetry recitation and to broaden their horizons regarding poetry as the school-wide student winners and runners-up prepare for the Poetry Out Loud regional competitions.

Workshop Description

This workshop is for both students and teachers.

CRAWLING INSIDE A POEM:  A workshop with Maine Poets Gibson Fay-LeBlanc and Megan Grumbling

The best poem recitations demonstrate a deep understanding, as if the person is inside the poem or the poem is happening inside the person as the audience hears the words. This workshop will show you how to internalize your poems, providing important clues to the inner life of your poems and specific methods for accessing it. The POL handbook warns against over-dramatizing your poems in performance, advising you to 'internalize' the poetry you recite. The teacher’s guide for the POL competition states that the best performances should “convey a poem’s sense primarily with one’s voice,” relying on “a powerful internalization of the poem rather than distracting dramatic gestures.” That is, contestants must find a way to go beneath the surface of a poem. Gibson and Megan will discuss the emotional content and structure of the poem, using examples drawn from the POL anthology. Their goal will be to reveal the patterns and approaches that are basic to poetry in general and POL poems in particular, allowing school-wide student winners and runners-up to understand and perform their poems in a deeper way. Gibson and Megan will then help students to apply these approaches to the poems that they plan to recite at the regional competition. Teachers are invited to observe Gibson and Megan working with the students in this process.

Participating teachers will receive a certificate for two contact hours of professional development.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is a writer and teacher. His first collection of poems, Death of a Ventriloquist, was chosen by Lisa Russ Spaar for the Vassar Miller Prize. He has been named Portland’s fifth Poet Laureate, to serve a three-year term beginning in 2015.

Megan Grumbling writes poetry, theater criticism and dramatic works, and she serves as an editor, teacher and writing mentor. Her poetry collection Booker's Point (University of North Texas Press, 2016) was awarded the Vassar Miller Prize and the 2017 Maine Book Award for Poetry.

Workshop Dates and Locations

School-wide student winners and their teachers may attend the regional workshop at either location, regardless of the school’s designated assignment for the regional finals.

  • Northern Regional Workshop: Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 4-6 p.m. at Hampden Academy, 89 Western Avenue, Hampden (Workshop will begin in the Performing Arts Center.) (snow date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 from 4-6 p.m.) Hampden Academy, Regional School Unit #22, is an in-kind sponsor of this event.
  • Southern Regional Workshop: Tuesday, February 6, 2018 from 4-6 p.m. at the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland. Directions and parking options are available at portlandlibrary.com/locations/main-library/. The Portland Public Library is an in-kind sponsor of this event.


Workshop Registration

The online Regional Workshop Registration Form must be completed and submitted by each student attending the workshop. Each student will need to indicate on the form if his/her contact teacher will be attending the workshop. Online registration deadline is January 22, 2018. 

In addition, the Student Permission Form must be downloaded, completed and signed by the student’s parent or guardian and returned to the POL contact teacher for submission via fax or email by January 22, 2018.

Parent/Guardian Student Permission Form [Word Document]

Parent/Guardian Student Permission Form [.pdf] 

Workshop Requirements for Participating Students

  • Bring two printed copies of the three poems that you are preparing for the regional competition.
  • Bring pen and paper or iPad, laptop or other device for making notes.


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