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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
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Catherine O’Brian, N.H. State Council on the Arts

“Think of the language”: NH Poetry Out Loud Championships at State House March 13

The statewide final competition for the 2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program will take place at Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on March 13 at 7 p.m. In its ninth year, New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud competition is coordinated by the N.H. State Council on the Arts. The finals are open to the public and there is no charge for admission. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

At the event, 12 finalists from the state’s four semi-final competitions will recite poems they have selected from hundreds compiled by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. New Hampshire’s champion will represent the state at the national championship in Washington, D.C., where a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be awarded to top-placing students.

Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio-produced “Word of Mouth,” will be master of ceremonies.

A nationwide program, Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation’s youth to learn about the beauty and power of language through the memorization and performance of great poems. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

Poetry Out Loud continues to gain popularity in New Hampshire; this year, nearly 10,000 students from 37 New Hampshire high schools participated. High school champions advanced to regional semi-final competitions and students who placed in top positions at each semi-final will compete at the statewide finals.

Criteria for judging includes physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of complexity, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.

The National Endowment of the Arts awards funds for the Poetry Out Loud program to the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, which serves as the NEA’s major partner for the state competition.

In addition to the N.H. State Council on the Arts, the N.H. Department of Cultural Resources, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, several other organizations have contributed to the success of the 2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program, including key funding provided by the Putnam Foundation, a donor advised fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation. Partners include the New Hampshire Writers Project, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, CavanKerry Press, the Frost Place, the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, Toadstool Bookshops, Jean’s Playhouse, New England College, Southern New Hampshire University, the University of New Hampshire and Plymouth State University’s School of Graduate Studies. Additional support comes from Gibson’s Bookstore, RiverRun Bookstore, Water Street Bookstore and the Granite State Ambassadors.

New England College is offering $20,000 annual scholarships to each of the high school champions and alternates, should they choose to enroll there and gain admission.

For additional information about New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud, 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 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


The quotation in the headline, “Think of the language,” is from New Hampshire poet Maxine Kumin’s “Nurture” (1987) and is part of the Poetry Out Loud catalog.



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