"Even people who don't particularly enjoy most forms of poetry can still find a poem that they enjoy AND be very good at reciting if they set their minds to it. What makes poetry so appealing is its ability to describe all sorts of different aspects of the human experience in a new and unique light. There is a poem out there for everyone. Even my dad...maybe."
- Danielle Corbett, 2016 NH Poetry Out Loud Champion
“Poetry offers mastery of language and stocks the mind with images and ideas in unforgettable words and phrases. Poetry trains and develops our emotional intelligence.”
- Dana Gioia, poet, founder of Poetry Out Loud
This year over 8,000 New Hampshire students from 36 high schools will learn and perform literary classics from the Poetry Out Loud curriculum. Now in its twelfth year, POL encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
From Groveton to Rochester to Keene, student achievement in English Language Arts is celebrated at school competitions. POL events are held in local coffee shops, during assemblies with performances from the school band, and as afterschool evening performances. The flavor of the competition may be different at each school, but what is consistent is the enrichment and growth that both teachers and students see in their own relationship with poetry. Poetry Out Loud offers teachers free training, lesson plans and curriculum materials. In many schools, Poetry Out Loud is the only exposure students have to this ancient form of creative writing.
In 2017 several colleges and universities have recognized the immense achievement and hard work of students in the Poetry Out Loud program by offering merit scholarships to all student champions. Students are also welcomed into the community of poets and writers in New Hampshire through complementary memberships for the NH Poetry Society, NH Writers' Project, and Slam Free or Die.
Thirty six school champions in New Hampshire have competed at four regional Semi Final events. Eleven students will proceed to the State Championships on March 10 at 6 pm at the State House in Concord. One state champion will be crowned and represent NH at the national competition in April in Washington, D.C.
Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and is locally presented through the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. To learn more about the program and see a full list of partners visit the POL webpage.
Photos (top to bottom):
- Erin Kelley, Prospect Mountain High School, reciting Weighing In by Rhina P. Espaillat
- Students at the Southern New Hampshire University Semi-Final
- Tess MacMahon, The Academy for Science and Design, takes a selfie backstage
- Liam Clark, Lin-Wood Public School, does a mic check at Jean’s Playhouse in Lincoln, NH
Photos by Cheryl Senter