CONCORD — Registration is open for New Hampshire high schools wishing to participate in the 2013-2014 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program. The deadline to register is November 1, 2013 and is limited to 40 high schools. Home-schooled students are also welcome to join through their local school or by creating a regional group.
Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide contest sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. The program encourages youth to learn about the beauty and power of language through memorization and performance of great poems. Participation in the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.
Students in the Poetry Out Loud program are invited to select several poems to memorize and recite from an anthology, compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, that represents the breadth of great poetry. Contestants are judged on several criteria, including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding and overall performance.
Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include the online poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher's guide, a DVD of national finals performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides. Aspects of the program align with the new Common Core educational standards and therefore allow educators to tie into broad educational objectives.
In New Hampshire, the competitions begin at the high school level. Champions represent their high school at regional competitions; those winners participate in the state championship, which will be held in March 2014. The program provides support for the champions from each state travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Finals, where a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded.
Funds for Poetry Out Loud are provided by the National Endowment for the Arts to state arts agencies around the country. The N.H. State Council on the Arts manages New Hampshire's program in partnership with the New Hampshire Writers' Project. Other partners include the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and the Frost Place.