Joao Victor named Poetry Out Loud State Champion

  • March 26, 2019

Lewiston High School Senior Joao Victor named Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Allan Monga, a senior at Deering High School, is runner up

 AUGUSTA, ME, MARCH 11—The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce that 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. 

Poetry Out Loud is organized by the Maine Arts Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Bill Green, executive producer and host of NEWS CENTER’s top-rated magazine program Bill Green’s Maine was the master of ceremonies for the state finals event at the Waterville Opera House. The program also featured music from the Messalonskee High School Jazz Band and readings by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum.

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.

“Oh my god, I’m competing against my hero. The guy who led me to discover and help me understand poetry,” Victor said in an interview with Bill Green. “I couldn’t believe it.” 

Victor will now represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington D.C. from April 30-May 1.  The other Maine state finalists included: Shaphnah McKenzie, Bangor High School; Delaney Ziegman, Thornton Academy; Emily Campbell, Waterville High School; Hanna Lavenson, Messalonskee High School; Magnolia Vandiver, George Stevens Academy; Aaliyah Biamby, Gorham High School; Wyatt Bates, Yarmouth High School; and Emma Jacot-Descombes, Rangeley Lakes Regional School.

For more information about Maine Poetry Out Loud, and  how your school can participate next year, visit or contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission at Videos and photos of the Poetry Out Loud state and regional champions are available here. 


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