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The Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) became the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (DNCR) on July 1, 2017 when its divisions, the State Library, State Arts Council and Division of Historical Resources, merged with the Division of Parks & Recreation and the Division of Forests & Lands, formerly of the now-dissolved Department of Resources & Economic Development. The Film Office joined the Department of Business and Economic Affairs on July 1, 2018.

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NH Cultural Resources logo NH State Council on the Arts Poetry Out Loud logo  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2016

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

‘Nothing is so beautiful as Spring—’
2016 NH Poetry Out Loud regional semi-finals begin Feb. 29

After months of preparation and local competitions, New Hampshire’s high school champions will compete at four semi-final competitions for the opportunity to represent their school at the 2016 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud Championship, scheduled to take place in Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord on March 21, at 6 p.m. Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth,” will serve as master of ceremonies at the finals.

This year’s New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program is the largest in its 11-year history. The 42 groups participating include public and private high schools as well as a homeschool group and independent students.

Each school or group hosts their own local competition, with the champion moving on to one of the four semi-final competitions; the top three students from each semi-final will ultimately compete at the state championship. New Hampshire’s champion will join state winners from across the country at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals May 2-4, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

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. In total, Poetry Out Loud will award more than $100,000 to state- and national-level winners and their schools.

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:

  • The N.H. Institute of Art in Manchester on Monday, February 29 at 6 p.m., emceed by Andy’s Summer Playhouse’s Jared Mezzocchi;
  • Jean’s Playhouse in Lincoln on Thursday, March 3 at 6 p.m., emceed by N.H. Public Radio’s Brady Carlson;
  • Southern New Hampshire University's Walker Auditorium in Robert Frost Hall in Manchester on Monday, March 7 at 6 p.m., emceed by N.H. Writers Project’s John Herman;
  • New England College's Simon Center in Henniker on Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m., emceed by New Hampshire storyteller and author Becky Rule.

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.

Funds are provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the national Poetry Foundation to state arts agencies to implement Poetry Out Loud; the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts coordinates the program in New Hampshire. Other state partners include the Putnam Foundation, 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.

New England College and the New Hampshire Institute of Art are offering scholarships to select students, should they choose to enroll at those institutions. For more details, please contact the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

To learn more about 2016 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 Division of 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 welfare and educational experience of our citizens.” Funding comes from state appropriations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more at


NOTE: The quote in the headline is the opening line from the poem “Spring,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889).



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