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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2014

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

2014 NH Poetry Out Loud regional semi-finals begin March 4

High school champions from across New Hampshire will compete at four semi-final competitions in March for the opportunity to represent their school at the 2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud Championship, scheduled to take place in Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 7 p.m. Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth,” will serve as master of ceremonies at the championship.

The statewide competition leads up to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which take place April 28–30, 2014, in Washington, D.C., coinciding with National Poetry Month.

2014 marks the ninth year the program has been held in New Hampshire and nearly 10,000 students from 37 New Hampshire high schools are participating. High school champions go on to compete at one of four state semi-final competitions; eleven students will ultimately compete at the state championship.

New Hampshire semi-final competitions are free and open to the public. Seating may be limited in some facilities so early arrival is recommended.

Locations and dates for the semi-finals are:

  • University of New Hampshire’s Hennessey Theatre, Durham, N.H., on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 7 p.m.
  • Jean’s Playhouse, Lincoln, N.H., on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at 7 p.m.
  • Southern New Hampshire University's Walker Auditorium in Robert Frost Hall, Manchester, N.H., on Friday, March 7, 2014, at 7 p.m.
  • New England College's Simon Center, Henniker, N.H., on Monday, March 10, 2014, at 7 p.m.

Snow dates and updates on parking for these events are available at www.nh.gov/nharts.

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition for high school students and is initiated and funded through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Funds are provided to state arts agencies to implement Poetry Out Loud in high schools around the country. The N.H. State Council on the Arts sponsors the program in New Hampshire.

Poetry Out Loud encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Participation in the project helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Competitors choose poems from a pre-selected catalog that ranges from Shakespearean sonnets to contemporary works. Students are scored based upon several criteria, including presentation, accuracy and the poem’s level of complexity.

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.

In addition to the N.H. State Council on the Arts, the N.H. Department of Cultural Resources, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, partners for the 2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program include: the Putnam Foundation, a donor advised fund of the N.H. 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 Bookshops; Jean’s Playhouse; New England College; Southern New Hampshire University; the University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State University’s School of Graduate Studies. Additional support comes from Gibson’s Bookstore, RiverRun Bookstore and Water Street Bookstore.

New England College is offering $20,000 annual scholarships to each of the high school champions, should they choose to enroll there.

To learn more about 2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud, view the calendar of high school competition dates, or find out how your school can be involved, go to: www.nh.gov/nharts and click on the Poetry Out Loud button. For additional information, contact Catherine O’Brian, N.H. State Council on the Arts at (603) 271-0795, Catherine.R.OBrian@dcr.nh.gov.

The N.H. State Council on the Arts is a publicly funded agency within New Hampshire's Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with the passage of a law 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 and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more about the N.H. State Council on the Arts at www.nh.gov/nharts.

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