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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2012

Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
shelly.angers@dcr.nh.gov
Twitter: @NHCulture

Catherine O’Brian, N.H. State Council on the Arts
(603) 271-0795
catherine.r.obrian@dcr.nh.gov

NOTE: Photos from previous competitions available upon request

N.H. Poetry Out Loud High School Championships at State House March 26

The statewide final competition for the 2012 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program will take place at Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on March 26 at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

At the finals, champions from the state’s four semi-final competitions will vie for the chance to represent New Hampshire at the national championship in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes will be awarded.

Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio-produced “Word of Mouth” will be master of ceremonies. New Hampshire Speaker of the House of Representatives William O’Brien will open the event and welcome students to the historic chambers.

“The New Hampshire House is pleased to again host the finals of this important event that helps students experience the power of poetry,” said O’Brien.

Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide program of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) carried out in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. It encourages the nation's youth to learn about the beauty and power of language through memorization and performance of great poems.

This year, almost 10,000 students from 36 New Hampshire high schools and one public library consortium participated in Poetry Out Loud. High school champions advanced to semi-final competitions; students who placed in the top positions at semi-finals will compete at the statewide finals.

New Hampshire high school champions and their alternates are offered merit scholarship awards of up to $15,000 from New England College. Champions also receive donations of books from local bookstores.

Poetry Out Loud, which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage, has gained popularity over the past seven years. Participants memorize and recite poems from hundreds identified in a collection compiled by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation to represent the breadth of great poetry. Competitors are judged on the quality of their presentation, the poem’s difficulty and the student’s accuracy in reciting it.

The NEA awards funds for the Poetry Out Loud program to the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, which serves as the NEA’s major partner for the state competition.

Other New Hampshire partners for 2012 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud include the Badger Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, CavanKerry Press, The Frost Place, the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, Toadstool Book Shops, Gibson’s Bookstore, Water Street Bookstore and Bagel Works. The Granite State Ambassadors will serve as volunteers for the State Finals.

For additional information about New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud, contact Catherine O’Brian, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at (603) 271-0795, Catherine.R.OBrian@dcr.nh.gov.

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is a publicly funded agency within the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding comes from state appropriations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at www.nh.gov/nharts.

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