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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 21, 2012

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

2012 N.H. Poetry Out Loud semi-finals announced

High school champions from across New Hampshire will compete at four semi-final competitions next month for the opportunity to represent their school at the 2012 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud Championship, which will take place in Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on Monday, March 26, 2012.

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition for high school students initiated and funded through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Funds are provided to state arts agencies around the country to participate in the project. The New Hampshire 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 difficulty.

2012 marks the seventh year the program has been held in New Hampshire and more than 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. The Poetry Foundation covers the cost for the New Hampshire champion to compete at the national level in Washington D.C. where up to $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes will be awarded.

High school students around the country are enthused about the program. New Hampshire’s 2011 Poetry Out Loud Champion Olivia Vordenberg from Souhegan High School summed up her experience as, “I am so thankful for the promoters of this program who inspire kids to memorize poetry; for without it, I wouldn't have been as aware of my true love for poetry and the opportunity we all have to share it with others.”

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 are:

  • New England College's Great Room (Simon Center), Henniker, N.H., on Friday, March 9, 2012, at 7 p.m. (snow date: March 10, 2012, 2 p.m.)
  • Southern New Hampshire University's Walker Auditorium (Robert Frost Hall), Manchester, N.H., on Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 7 p.m. (snow date: March 18, 2012, 2 p.m.).
  • Plymouth State University’s Boyd Hall on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 7 p.m. (snow date: March 20, 2012, 7 p.m.).
  • Rochester Opera House on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 7 p.m. (snow date: March 22, 2012, 7 p.m.).

New Hampshire is fortunate to have many partners for the 2012 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program, including the Badger 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 Book Shops and Bagel Works; additional support comes from Gibson’s Bookstore and Water Street Books. New England College sponsors up to $15,000 in merit scholarships for each of the 37 high school champions and their alternates.

To learn more about 2012 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud, view the calendar of high school competition dates, or find out how your school can be involved, go to: and click on the Poetry Out Loud button. For additional information, contact Catherine O’Brian, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at (603) 271-0795,

The New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at




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