Joao Victor, Maine Poetry Out Loud Champion of 2019
Joao Victor, a senior from Lewiston High School, is the winner of the Maine Poetry Out Loud State Final and is on his way to the nationals in Washington, D.C. in April. Allan Monga, a senior from Deering High School and 2018 Poetry Out Loud state champion finished runner-up.
The 2019 Poetry Out Loud competition is the first appearance for a Lewiston High School student to earn a spot in the Maine state finals. Victor advanced alongside nine other finalists from Maine high schools in the Regional Poetry Out Loud contests held last month.
The contestants recited two poems in the first two rounds before intermission, at which time the panel of judges selected five finalists to move on to the final round, Victor recited "Bright Copper Kettles," by Vijay Seshadri in the final round to clinch the championship. In the end, Victor and Monga were announced state champion and runner-up. Monga, whose 2018 bid to compete in the National Poetry Out Loud championship in Washington D.C., played a big part to inspire Victor to participate in the competition.Maine State Champion
Joao Victor, Lewiston High SchoolMaine State Runner-UpAllan Monga, Deering High SchoolState FinalistsMagnolia Vandiver, George Stevens AcademyAaliyah Biamby, Gorham High SchoolWyatt Bates, Yarmouth High School Regional FinalistsShaphnah McKenzie, Bangor High School Delaney Ziegman, Thornton AcademyEmily Campbell, Waterville High School Hanna Lavenson, Messalonskee High SchoolEmma Jacot-Descombes, Rangeley Lakes Regional School
Allan Monga is the 2018 Maine State Champion
The 2018 Maine State Poetry Out Loud Champion is Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School in Portland. The state Runner-up is Lauren Dodge, a senior at Lee Academy. Both students received cash awards and their schools received prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.
After rising to the top in classroom, school wide and regional level competitions, 11 state finalists gathered at the Waterville Opera House in Waterville to recite three rounds of poetry from memory. All 11 contestants recited two poems before intermission, at which time the panel of four judges selected six finalists. In the final round, Alan Monga was ultimately selected as state champion and represented Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington, D.C., April 23-25, 2018.
Monga impressed a panel of judges to become the 2018 State Champion by reciting three poems during the competition: “The Song of the Smoke” by W. E. B. Du Bois, “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron (George Gordon), and “In the Desert” by Stephen Crane. Each of the 11 regional champions received Dawn Potter’s third collection of poetry, Same Old Story, thanks to CavanKerry Press Ltd.
Jennifer Rooks, public affairs host and producer at Maine Public was the master of ceremonies for the Maine State Finals at the Waterville Opera House. The event featured music from the Waterville Senior High School Jazz Band and a reading by poet Adrian Blevins, who is an Associate Professor of English at Colby College.
The Maine Arts Commission is very proud of all of the students who participated in the 2018 Maine Poetry Out Loud program and is grateful to the many who have made the program possible since its inception in 2006.Maine State ChampionAllan Monga, Grade 11, Deering High School
Maine State Runner-UpLauren Dodge, Grade 12, Lee Academy
State FinalistsLydia Caron, Grade 12, Bangor High School Richard Hilscher, Grade 12, North Yarmouth AcademyAbigail vanLuling, Grade 12, Gorham High SchoolEmma Lombardo, Grade 11, Westbrook High SchoolRegional FinalistsWyatt Bates, Grade 11, Yarmouth High SchoolLauren Farmer, Grade 10, Rangeley Lakes Regional Schools Katharine Kemper, Grade 10, Camden Hills Regional High SchoolHanna Lavenson, Grade 10, Messalonskee High SchoolNelson Peterson, Grade 12, Oak Hill High School
Gabrielle Cooper is the 2017 Maine State Champion
The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce Gabrielle Cooper, a senior at Gardiner Area High School as the 2017 State Poetry Out Loud Champion. The State Runner-up is Natalie Lisnet, a senior from Bangor High School. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.
After rising to the top in classroom, school wide and regional level competitions, 10 state finalists gathered at the Waterville Opera House in Waterville to recite three rounds of poetry from memory. All 10 contestants recited two poems before intermission, at which time the panel of four judges selected five finalists. In the final round of five, Gabrielle Cooper was ultimately selected as state champion and will represent the State of Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington, D.C., April 24-26, 2017.
Cooper impressed a panel of judges to become the 2017 State Champion by reciting three poems during the competition: “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Please Don’t” by Tony Hoagland, and “To be of use" by Marge Piercy. Of Cooper's third poem, she said, "It is about the value of hard work and how nice it is to see progress in your efforts."
Jennifer Rooks, public affairs host and producer at Maine Public was the master of ceremonies for the event at the Waterville Opera House. The event also featured music from the Maranacook Chamber Singers and a reading by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum. "I think that when a poem works and a poet gets to the point where he or she wants to get, it's because they made a discovery in their work," Kestenbaum said while speaking to the finalists during the program. "I think when you spoke those poems, you were making that same discovery in the words that the poet made." Kestenbaum presented signed copies of his book of poems Only Now to all the finalists.
Maine Poetry Out Loud State Finalists: (left to right): Emma Beyor, Kate Hodgson, Amran Mahamed, Skyler Vaughn, Arielle Leeman, Antyna Gould, Gabrielle Cooper, Natalie Lisnet, Jordan Bryant and Sabrina Small.Maine State ChampionGabrielle Cooper, Grade 12, Gardiner Area High School
Maine State Runner-UpNatalie Lisnet, Grade 12, Bangor High School
State FinalistsAntyna Gould, Grade 12, Medomak Valley High SchoolArielle Leeman, Grade 12, Morse High SchoolAmran Mahamed, Grade 11, Deering High School
Regional FinalistsEmma Beyor, Grade 12, Erskine AcademyJordan Bryant, Grade 10, Greely High SchoolKate Hodgson, Grade 12, Camden Hills Regional High SchoolSabrina Small, Grade 12, Maine Coast Waldorf SchoolSkyler Vaughn, Grade 12, The Maine Girls’ Academy
Rose Horowitz is the 2015 and 2016 Maine State Champion
Horowitz impressed a top panel of judges to become the 2016 State Champion reciting three poems during the competition: “In the Basement of the Goodwill Store” by Ted Kooser, “Mrs. Caldera’s House of Things” by Gregory Djanikian, and “On An Unsociable Family” by Elizabeth Hands. She has matured since her win at POL last year and continued to be a natural on stage.
Rose Placed First
In honor of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, this year the 53 state champions competing at the National Finals were offered another opportunity to showcase their creativity through an optional competition called Poetry Ourselves. The teens were encouraged to submit an original work of poetry in two categories–written poems or spoken word–both of which were judged by noted poet Patricia Smith. Rose Horowitz of Maine placed first in the written category, while second place went to Hunter Hazelton of Arizona. In the spoken category, top honors went to Maddie Lukomski of South Dakota, with Madison Heggins of Texas earning second place.
More About the 2016 State Finals
The Maine Arts Commission extends a thank you to all of the student reciters who made the 2016 competition an amazing event:Lydia Caron, State Finalist – Bangor High SchoolMorgan Steward, State Finalist – Carrabec High SchoolShiloh Munsen, Regional Champion – Freeport High SchoolCharlotte Benoit, State Finalist – Greely High SchoolDanielle Barrett, Regional Champion – Hampden AcademySylvia Holland, Regional Champion – Maine Coast Waldorf SchoolRose Horowitz, State Chamion – Mt. Ararat High SchoolOwen Sinclair, State Finalist – Rangeley Lakes Regional SchoolAnna Bucklin, Regional Champion – Searsport District High School
Back row, l to r: Lydia Caron, Shiloh Munsen, Morgan Steward, Owen Sinclair, Anna Bucklin, Ben MillspaughFront row, l to r: Sylvia Holland, Charlotte Benoit, Rose Horowitz, Danielle Barrett
Thank you to Jennifer Rooks, Public Affairs Host and Producer at Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), who served as the event’s emcee.
About the 2015 State Finals
The Maine Arts Commission extends a thank you to all of the student reciters who made the 2015 competition an amazing event:Mohammad Hashmi, State Finalist - Bangor High SchoolJosef Biberstein, Regional Champion - Freeport High SchoolMariah Lang, State Finalist - Gardiner Area High SchoolEmma Curnin, Regional Champion - Kents Hill High SchoolRose Horowitz, State Champion - Mt. Ararat High SchoolCharlotte Eisenberg, Regional Champion - North Academy AcademyEmma Weissenfels, State Finalist - Oak Hill High SchoolOwen Sinclair, Regional Champion - Rangeley Lakes Regional School Isabella Labbe, Regional Champion - Waterville Senior High School Ella Werner, State Runner-up - Yarmouth High School
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 SchoolThalia Muyderman - Waynflete SchoolJacob Sperber - Yarmouth High School
Dyer Rhoads is the 2013 Maine State Champion
Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco has announced Dyer Rhoads of Waynflete School as the 2013 State Poetry Out Loud Champion. Blanco, who presented signed copies of his inaugural poem to all the finalists, went on to announce Iman Omar, from Deering High School, as the State Runner-up. 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, ten state finalists gathered at the Gracie Theatre in Bangor to recite three rounds of poetry from memory in front of television cameras and a packed audience. Dyer Rhoads was ultimately selected as state champion and will represent the State of Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on April 28-30 in Washington, D.C.
Rhoads impressed a top panel of judges to become the 2012 State Champion reciting three poems during the competition: "Onions" by William Matthews, "Break of Day" by John Donne and "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
The Maine Arts Commission thanks all the students that made the 2013 competition an amazing event:Iman Omar - Deering High SchoolChristian E. Heath - Gardiner Area High SchoolSkyler Samuelson - Merriconeag Waldorf High School Jai Aslam - Messalonskee High SchoolIsabelle Fall - Mt. Ararat High SchoolAbigail Abbott - Rangeley Lakes Regional SchoolBrianna Housman - Searsport District High SchoolMorgan Wiggan - Thornton AcademyBethanie Brown - Waterville Senior High SchoolDyer Rhoads - Waynflete School
Poetry Out Loud is a national program organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. The competition begins in Maine's schools where school champions are selected to compete in two regional finals at which ten 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.
The 2012 Poetry Out Loud Maine State Champion
The Maine Arts Commission wishes to congratulate Tyler O’Brien of Merriconeag Waldorf High School as the 2012 State Poetry Out Loud Champion and Kiana Sawyer, from Portland High School, as the State Runner-up. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.
State Champion Tyler O’Brien and Runner-upKiana Sawyer with MPBN’s Suzanne Nance.
The competition began in Maine during December with 8,000 students competing at the classroom level with the help of 250 teachers from 43 public, private and parochial high schools from across the state. After surviving classroom, school wide and regional level competitions, ten state finalists gathered in Lewiston to recite three rounds of poetry from memory in front of television cameras and a live audience at the Olin Arts Center. Tyler O’Brien was selected as state champion and will now represent the State of Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on May 13-15 in Washington, D.C. As state champion, O’Brien will receive an all expenses paid trip for two to the national final, where he will compete for the national title and $50,000 in cash and prizes. All prizes, as well as all materials for running this popular program in high schools across the nation, come directly from the National Endowment for the Arts and their partner in Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Foundation.
The students that competed at this year’s final were: Bethanie Brown from Waterville Sr. High School; Joshua Elwood from Bangor High School; Monica Frempong from Morse High School; Eloise Harnett from Gardiner Area High School; Brianna Housman from Searsport District High School; Avery Laderer from Boothbay Region High School; Tyler O’Brien from Merriconeag Waldorf High School; Makaela Reinke from George Stevens Academy; Kiana Sawyer from Portland High School and Ellyn Touchette from Gorham High School.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network televised the state final live from the Olin Arts Center on the Bates College Campus in Lewiston; click here to view the 2012 Poetry Out Loud Maine State Finals.
Other Maine State Champions include:
2011: Lulu (Hawkes) Moyo, Catherine McAuley High School, Portland
2010: William Whitham, Bangor High School, Bangor
2009: William Whitham, Bangor High School, Bangor
2008: Kate McKeown, Leavitt Area High School, Turner
2007: Kate (Reynolds) Bengtson, Erskine Academy, South China
2006: Riva Dumont, Erskine Academy, South China
For more information about Poetry Out Loud, please contact Brita Wanger-Morier, Performing Arts & Media Director at the Maine Arts Commission, at 207/287-2750 or by email at Brita.Wanger-vog.eniam@reiroM.