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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2015

Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
Twitter: @NHCulture

Catherine O’Brian, N.H. State Council on the Arts

2015 NH Poetry Out Loud regional semi-finals begin March 2; 10th year for scholarship program

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 2015 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud Championship, scheduled to take place in Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on Friday, March 13, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth,” will serve as master of ceremonies at the finals.

The statewide competition leads up to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which take place April 28-29, 2015, in Washington, D.C., coinciding with National Poetry Month.

2015 is the program’s 10th anniversary both nationally and in New Hampshire. This year, approximately 10,000 students participated in programs through 37 high schools groups. Local champions go on to compete at one of four state semi-final competitions; ten students will ultimately compete at the state championship.

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, dates, times and emcees for the semi-finals are:

  • Jean’s Playhouse, Lincoln, N.H., on Monday, March 2, 2015, at 6 p.m., emceed by N.H. Public Radio’s Brady Carlson;
  • The New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at 6:30 p.m., emceed by 7 Stages Shakespeare’s Dan Beaulieu;
  • Southern New Hampshire University's Walker Auditorium in Robert Frost Hall, Manchester, N.H., on Thursday, March 5, 2015, at 6:30 p.m., emceed by N.H. Writers Project’s John Herman;
  • New England College's Simon Center, Henniker, N.H., on Monday, March 9, 2015, at 6:30 p.m., emceed by N.H. Public Radio’s Kate McNally.

Snow dates and parking information for these events are available at

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. The program encourages high school students to learn the beauty and power of language through memorization and the performance of great poems. By participating, students have the opportunity to strengthen their public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

The N.H. State Council on the Arts coordinates and implements the N.H. Poetry Out Loud the program with funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. State partners include the Putnam Foundation, Lincoln Financial Group, New Hampshire Public Radio, the New Hampshire Writers Project, Poetry Society of New Hampshire, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, Granite State Ambassadors, the New Hampshire Institute of Art, New England College, Southern New Hampshire University, Jean’s Playhouse, CavanKerry Press, the Frost Place in Franconia and Opus Advisors.

Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.

The New Hampshire Institute of Art is offering a scholarship for each year of a four-year Bachelors program to each high school champion and alternate, should they be accepted there and choose to attend NHIA. New England College and Plymouth State University are each offering scholarships to the state champion, should that student choose to attend either of those institutions.

To learn more about 2015 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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