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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

N.H.’s 2013 Poetry Out Loud Champion named

Dan Belshaw from Oyster River High School in Durham is the winner of New Hampshire's eighth Poetry Out Loud championship. Stephanie Bilodeau from Keene Public Library’s program was selected as alternate champion.

As state champion, Belshaw receives $200 from the national Poetry Out Loud program and travel expenses from the Poetry Foundation for himself and an adult chaperone to compete for the national championship. His high school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

The national Poetry Out Loud competition takes place in Washington, D.C., on April 28 – 30, 2013; high schools students from 50 states will gather to recite their selected poems. A total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends are awarded to participants placing a various levels of the national competition. Should Belshaw be unable to attend, Bilodeau will represent New Hampshire at the event.

The N.H. State Council on the Arts sponsors the Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition for high school students in New Hampshire. The program 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.

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 2013 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program started in the fall with more than 9,000 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; criteria for judging includes physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.

Finalists from each high school advanced to four regional semi-finals, and the top participants from the regional competitions advanced to the state championship.

“It is both inspiring and humbling to see the poise these future leaders display throughout New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program,” said Lynn Martin Graton, acting director of the N.H. State Council on the Arts. “They are a credit to their families, their teachers and to the state.”

Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio-produced “Word of Mouth” was the master of ceremonies at the championship.

Performance judges for the 2013 N.H. Poetry Out Loud finals included Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire Magazine; poet Martha Carlson-Bradley; Byron Champlin, assistant vice president and program officer for the Lincoln Financial Foundation; poet Jennifer Militello; Michele Perkins, president of New England College; author Mike Pride; and Sheila Whitney Mable, adjunct instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. Poet Sara Willingham served as accuracy judge. Frumie Selchen, executive director of the Arts Alliance of Northern N.H., supervised the scoring team.

New Hampshire is fortunate to have many local partners for the 2013 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program, including the Putnam Foundation, the Daniel Thomas and Karen K. Moran Charitable Funds 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 Bookstores, and Hannaford Supermarkets, as well as New England College, Southern New Hampshire University, the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and Plymouth State University’s School of Graduate Studies. Additional support comes from Gibson’s Bookstore and Water Street Books.

More information about New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program, including a list of high school champions, state semi-final participants and state championship participants, is available by clicking on the “Poetry Out Loud” 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'

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




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