Maine Arts Commission presents virtual Poetry Out Loud State Finals

  • April 13, 2021

Maine Arts Commission presents virtual Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Gorham High School Senior, Emily Paruk, named Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champion

The Maine Arts Commission is proud to present the Poetry Out Loud State Finals. In the first ever statewide competition in which poetry recitations were recorded and scored by a panel of virtual judges, ten students rose through the ranks of schoolwide and regional competitions to compete in the Maine state final.

The Maine poetry finalists include: Emma Collins, North Yarmouth AcademyHazel Dow, Waterville Senior High School; Katelyn Nestor, Gardiner Area High School; Emily Paruk, Gorham High School; Zeke Sitarz, Lisbon; Sofia Stockwell, North Haven Community School; Helen Strout, Cape Elizabeth High School; Rose Tuttle, Mount Ararat High School; Ada Vancil, John Bapst Memorial High School; and Magnolia Vandiver, George Stevens Academy. The Maine State Finals judges were Mihku Paul, Ekhlas Ahmed, Erica Rubin Irish, and Todd McKinley. 

Because live, in-person events were not possible this year, the Maine Arts Commission is partnering with Media Loma to create a film that mimics the structure of the usual competitions. The film includes three rounds of student recitation videos, as well as performances by musicians from Maine Academy of Modern Music. Former Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Allan Monga, serves as emcee in the film. The film will be released the week of April 12th on the Maine Arts Commission website and social media accounts. 


After three rounds of strong performances, a winner emerged. The judges announced Emily Paruk, a senior from Gorham High School, is the winner and is now on her way to compete in the virtual National Poetry Out Loud competition in May. Helen Strout, a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School, finished runner-up.

Emily Paruk recited Once the World Was Perfect by Joy Harjo, Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings, and ['Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning'] by Emily Bronte.

Emily Paruk, a senior from Gorham High SchoolEmily will now represent Maine at the virtual National Poetry Out Loud Finals. This will be the first year in the program’s 16-year history that the national competition to be held virtually. Her first appearance is May 2 at noon during one of three semifinal matches. If she advances beyond the semifinal, Paruk will compete in the national finals on May 27 at 7 p.m.

Maine’s Poetry Out Loud program is organized by the Maine Arts Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

For more information about Maine Poetry Out Loud, visit or contact Meg Fournier, Interim Director of Media and Performing Arts, Maine Arts Commission at More than four million students have participated in Poetry Out Loud over the past 16 years, many advancing from classroom competitions to school competitions to state competitions to, finally, the national finals. For more information about the national Poetry Out Loud program, visit





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