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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2013

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

2013 N.H. Poetry Out Loud regional semi-finals begin March 5

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 2013 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud Championship, scheduled to take place in Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on Friday, March 15, 2013, 7 pm. Virginia Prescott, host of NH Public Radio’s Word of Mouth program, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

The statewide competition leads up to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which take place April 28 – 30, 2013, in Washington, D.C., coinciding with National Poetry Month.

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 difficulty.

2013 marks the eighth year the program has been held in New Hampshire and more than 9,000 students from 36 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.

New Hampshire semi-final competitions are free and open to the public. They are a wonderful opportunity for people from all walks of life to enjoy the power of poetry and celebrate the achievements of New Hampshire's high school students.

Seating may be limited in some facilities so early arrival is recommended. Locations and dates are:

  • Southern New Hampshire University's Walker Auditorium (Robert Frost Hall), Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 7 p.m.
  • Plymouth State University’s Boyd Hall on Thursday, March 7, 2013, at 7 p.m.
  • New England College's Great Room (Simon Center), Henniker, N.H., on Friday, March 8, 2013, at 7 p.m.
  • University of New Hampshire’s Hennessey Theatre, Durham, N.H. on Monday, March 11, 2013, at 7 p.m.

Snow dates and updates on parking for these events are available at

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.

New England College is offering $20,000 scholarships to each of the 37 high school champions, should they choose to enroll at NEC. Southern New Hampshire University is offering renewable merit scholarships of $4,000 - $12,000 to high school champions and alternate champions, should they decide to attend SNHU.

To learn more about 2013 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, N.H. State Council on the Arts at (603) 271-0795,

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




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