New Hampshire is home to five United States Poets Laureate. What’s your reaction when you think of poetry? Is there a deep sigh? A sense of panic? The feeling that verse is not accessible to anyone but honors English students?
In 2005, the National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia, a poet, recognized the need to increase poetry as part of a well-rounded education and under his leadership, Poetry Out Loud held the first national competition in 2006.
New Hampshire students have been participating in the program since the beginning and this year, its 13th season, the program regularly sees more high school students annually participate in competitive poetry than interscholastic sports.
Forty high schools will compete at the semi-finals in four regions of the state. The competitions are free and open to the public. The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts invites you to attend a competition near your hometown and listen to students deliver contemporary and classic language on stage embodied in their chosen poems as they compete for the chance to represent New Hampshire in Washington, D.C.
As Laila Ruffin, the New Hampshire Youth Poet Laureate and 2016-17 NHPOL Alternate Champion reflected on her recent Poetry Out Loud experience; "But the true reward was not the title, but what my recitation had made others feel.”
The students will take your breath away.
NH Poetry Out Loud Semi-Finals
February 15, 6pm New England College 98 Bridge St, Henniker NH
snow date: February 16
February 20, 6pm Rochester Opera House 31 Wakefield St, Rochester, NH
snow date: February 21
February 22, 6pm Southern New Hampshire University, Robert Frost Hall 2500 North River Rd, Manchester, NH
snow date: February 23
March 5, 6pm Jean's Playhouse 34 Papermill Dr, Lincoln, NH
snow date: March 6
NH Poetry Out Loud State Championship Finals
NH State House, Representatives Hall, Concord
March 9, 2018
snow date March 12
Photos (top to bottom) of 2016-17 POL Participants:
- NH State Champion Charlotte Perkins of Kearsarge Regional High School in North Sutton
- NH Alternate Champion and current NH Youth Poet Laureate Laila Ruffin of Concord High School
- Sandra Black of Coe-Brown Northwood Academy reciting at the State Finals
- Will Hebert of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover reciting at the Rochester Opera House Semi Finals
Photos by Cheryl Senter