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

Catherine O’Brian, N.H. State Council on the Arts
(603) 271-0795

NOTE: Photos available upon request

N.H.’s Poetry Out Loud Champion named

Bria Frehner from ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough has won New Hampshire's seventh Poetry Out Loud championship. Frehner will represent New Hampshire in Washington, D.C., May 13-15, 2012 at the national Poetry Out Loud competition. Trevor Murray of Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro was selected as alternate champion.

As state champion, Frehner receives $200 from the national Poetry Out Loud program and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. Her high school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Murray receives $100, with $200 for his school library. New England College offered both Frehner and Murray merit scholarships up to $15,000.

Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation program, is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. It is sponsored in New Hampshire by the N.H. State Council on the Arts in partnership with the New Hampshire Writers Project. Funding was also provided by The Badger Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Participation in the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary and cultural heritage. All New Hampshire high schools – public, private and parochial – are welcome to participate, as are home-schooled high school-aged students.

“The high school champions who competed in the regional and state competitions are all to be congratulated for their mastery of the English language in poetic form. They are a credit to their teachers and to our state,” said State Arts Council Acting Director Lynn Martin Graton. “We are grateful that they were able to present their artistry in the State House’s Representatives Hall, New Hampshire’s historic legislative chambers.”

This year’s New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program started in the fall with almost 10,000 high school students from 36 high schools participating. Students selected poems from a list compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts and the national Poetry Foundation; their recitations were scored for accuracy and presentation.

Finalists from each high school advanced to four regional semi-finals, and the top three participants from the regional competitions advanced to the state finals. Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio-produced Word of Mouth was the master of ceremonies. New Hampshire Speaker of the House of Representatives William O’Brien opened the event and welcomed students to the historic chambers.

Judges for the 2012 event included Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire Magazine; Nicki Clarke, executive director of the Capitol Center for the Arts; Michele Perkins, president of New England College; Mike Pride, journalist, historian and former publisher of the Concord Monitor; William Doreski, professor of English, Keene State College; Jane Eklund, poet and freelance writer; and Byron Champlin, assistant vice president and program officer for the Lincoln Financial Foundation. The scoring manager was Frumie Selchen, executive director of the Arts Alliance of Northern N.H. Dr. Roger Brooks, chair of the N.H. State Council on the Arts, gave introductory remarks and assisted with presenting awards at the event.

More information about New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program, including a list of state finalists and high school champions, is available by clicking on the “Poetry Out Loud Competition Underway” link at More information about the national program is available at

To learn how your high school or high school student can participate in New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program, visit the N.H. State Council on the Arts website:, or contact Catherine O'Brian Arts Education Grants and Programs coordinator, N.H. State Council on the Arts (603-271-0795), Catherine.R.O'




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