Maine Poetry Out Loud
Maine Poetry Out Loud header image


Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Maine Poetry Out Loud program! We were so impressed by everyone’s ability to bring the written word alive and your comprehension of great poetry, as well as your hard work and resiliency during this unique year of virtual competition.

Our 2021 Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champion is Emily Paruk and our State Runner Up is Helen Strout! Emily will proceed on to the National Poetry Out Loud virtual competition in May. 

State Finals

Ten finalists from our Regional Competitions (the 5 top scorers from each competition) participated in our State Finals. State Finals judges were Mihku Paul, Ekhlas Ahmed, and Erica Rubin Irish. Our Accuracy Judge was Todd McKinley. 

State Finals competitors: 
Emily Paruk, Gorham High School
Katelyn Nestor, Gardiner Area High School
Rose Tuttle, Mount Ararat High School
Helen Strout, Cape Elizabeth High School
Emma Collins, North Yarmouth Academy
Magnolia Vandiver, George Stevens Academy
Hazel Dow, Waterville Senior High School
Ada Vancil, John Bapst Memorial High School
Sofia Stockwell, North Haven Community School
Zeke Sitarz, Lisbon High School


There were two Regional competitions - a Northern and Southern competition - with 18 students participating in each. Our Regionals judges were Salim Salim, Emily Baer, and Kristen Lindquist. Our Accuracy Judge was Todd McKinley. 

Southern Regional Competition:
Emily Paruk, Grade 12, Gorham High School
Rose Tuttle, Grade 9, Mount Ararat High School
Ryleigh Emmert, Grade 11, Lewiston High School
Emma Collins, Grade 12, North Yarmouth Academy
Hannah Smith, Grade 12, Westbrook High School
William Barmby, Grade 9, Maine Coast Waldorf School
Helen Strout, Grade 12, Cape Elizabeth High School
Katelyn Nestor, Grade 10, Gardiner Area High School
Julliet Mutizwa, Grade 11, South Portland High School

Northern Regional Competition:
Hanna Doody, Grade 11, Presque Isle High School
Magnolia Vandiver, Grade 12, George Stevens Academy
Morgan Stepp, Grade 9, Hermon High School
Ella Shaffer, Grade 11, Rangeley Lakes Regional School
Sofia Stockwell, Grade 10, North Haven Community School
Zeke Sitarz, Grade 12, Lisbon High School
Hazel Dow, Grade 11, Waterville Senior High School
Kosi Ifeji, Grade 11, Bangor High School
Ada Vancil, Grade 11, John Bapst Memorial High School


The Maine Arts Commission is proud to partner once again with the National Endowment for the Arts to give Maine schools the opportunity to participate in Poetry Out Loud in 2020-2021.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation.

How it Works

Once you register with us, involvement in Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom level. We’ll provide educational materials and resources to help get you and your students started. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals. Awards and placements are determined solely by the judges’ scores based on the Poetry Out Loud Evaluation Criteria.

Regional, State, and National Competitions

Due to COVID-19, there are elements of the Poetry Out Loud program that will look a little different this school year. In order to ensure the safety and health of participating students and staff, the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Finals will be held virtually in lieu of holding them on-site in Washington D.C. Our Maine Regional and State Final competitions will also be held virtually.

Waterfall Arts is partnering with the Maine Arts Commission to host a virtual qualifying event for Maine students who do not have a school competition to participate in to qualify for the Maine State Regional competitions. Homeschooled students are also welcome. To participate in the competition, video recitation files must be received by Friday, January 22nd.  For more information and to register, click here 

Our Regional and State Finals competitions will be video submission competitions. School winners will record a video of each of their three recitations for competition. Video files and registration info will be submitted to us by the deadlines listed in the timeline below. Our judges will score the recitations following the same format as the live competitions. We will announce the winners on the dates listed below. Students will not be able to change their chosen poems between Regionals and the State Final, but will have an opportunity to submit new video files if they choose. More detailed guidelines will be distributed to participating schools closer to the beginning of the year. 

The virtual POL National Semifinals will take place on May 2, 2021 and the National Finals will take place on May 27, 2021. Both will be video submission-based competitions and will be streamed on 

More information about virtual competitions can be found on the POL website.

Poetry Out Loud Awards

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and competes in the national finals. The state winner’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for their school. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually.  

Please visit the national Poetry Out Loud site to explore and learn more about this great program.

Key Dates

December 4, 2020: Registration Deadline 

January 15, 2021: Deadline for School Competitions

January 22, 2021: Deadline to register school winners and runners up for Regional Finals. Deadline to register for the Waterfall Arts qualifying competition for students without a school POL program.

February 5, 2021: Deadline to submit recitation videos for Regional Finals

February 22, 2021: Announcement of Regional Winners

March 5, 2021: Deadline to submit recitation videos for State Finals

March 15, 2021: Announcement of State Winners

May 2, 2021: National Semifinals

May 27, 2021: National Finals

More information about the National Finals will be shared as soon as we have dates and more details.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, please contact Meg Fournier, Interim Performing Arts & Media Director at the Maine Arts Commission, at (207) 287-2724 or by email at vog.eniam@reinruof.b.nagem.

There are two forms linked below. The first is for registering your school winner and runner up. This form must be filled out by January 22, 2021. The second is for students to send us their three recitation video files. The deadline to submit videos for regionals is February 5, 2021. 

2021 Maine Regional POL Registration Form 

2021 Maine Regional Competition Video Submission Form