TAKE FIVE - Interviewing Lyra Legawiec, Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champion

  • April 29, 2024

TAKE FIVE- featuring the 2024 Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Meet Lyra Legawiec, the Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champion whose journey to the finals is nothing short of inspiring. With her stellar recitations, Lyra is showcasing the power of poetry in a unique and captivating way.

As she prepares for the upcoming semi-final round of the National competition in Washington D.C. this week, Lyra shares her story, detailing her methods for perfecting a recitation and reflecting on how poetry has unlocked new realms of exploration within her own world.

We’re rallying behind Lyra for the National Semifinals that will kick off on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 9 a.m. We will be streaming the live feed on the Maine Arts Commission Facebook page. 


Can you share your journey through the Maine Poetry Out Loud competition? What was your favorite moment?

"This is my second year participating in POL, but my first time going on to Nationals. I have loved learning all this poetry and meeting other reciters! I truly believe that the poetry one chooses to recite/read/write tells you a lot about them, and vice versa. This year, my favorite moment has been reciting my third poem at states. It was the first time I’d done it for a group of people that large and it was a really special experience."

How have you been preparing for the semi-final round of the National competition? Can you tell us about your approach to selecting and interpreting poems?

"For Nationals, I have been reciting the poems to myself as well as with my mother, who helps me prepare. When choosing and interpreting poems, first and foremost, I try to find poems that speak to me. From there I try to develop a deeper understanding of them. Sometimes I tone-map, but I always look at the poem line by line, stanza by stanza. There are different meanings to be found in all of them."

Poetry Out Loud emphasizes the performance aspect of poetry. How do you bring your own unique interpretation and style to the poems you recite? 

"Emotion is a very important component to me when it comes to reciting/performing poetry. I want to convey strong emotion, but I also want the audience to understand why I’m feeling that emotion as well." 

What advice would you give to other students who are interested in participating in Poetry Out Loud or exploring poetry as an art form?

"Don’t be afraid to explore! Before I started doing POL, poetry definitely wasn’t my favorite art form. I was also uncomfortable with the idea of recitation. But I discovered soon that there is so much to learn from poetry. Poetry is a way of learning more about yourself, about others, about the world. It’s a unique form of expression. It is literally timeless, and it can open your eyes to so many new things. Just saying poems out loud makes them feel different than when they are on the page."

Finally, what are you most looking forward to about representing Maine on the national stage, and what are your hopes for the experience in Washington D.C.?

"I am very much looking forward to telling the stories of these poems in Washington D.C. It is such an honor representing Maine! I’m excited to meet many cool people and hear awesome poetry."

Read the full PRESS RELEASE and PHOTO GALLERY from the Maine Poetry Out Loud State Finals.


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Ryan Leighton

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333