ELLSWORTH, Maine — The Grand will host the Northern Regional Finalists of Poetry Out Loud at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. The event is free to attend and the doors open at 3:45 p.m.
The competition, which will ultimately select one student to represent Maine at the National Finals, began in Maine with more than 8,000 students competing in more than 40 schools. Each of these schools has selected their champion, and these masters of recitation will come together at two regional finals with the hopes of impressing judges enough to progress to the state championship in March.
“Poetry Out Loud is now in its eighth year and continues to grow in popularity here in Maine,” Maine Arts Commission Executive Director Julie Richard said in a recent press release. “The level of skill and understanding shown by these school finalists is a joy to behold, and I encourage those interested in the written word to join us at one of our regional finals.”
The Maine state champion will be awarded $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship in April. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Participants at the national level will be awarded a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends; a $20,000 award will be presented to the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.
The program was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation as a way to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry — recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theater into the English class. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.
The Southern Regional Final takes place at the City Theatre in Biddeford on Feb. 13. The state final is set for March 20 in Bangor at Husson University’s Gracie Theatre.
Students competing at the Northern Regional are from the following schools:
• Emma Howard, Bangor High School
• Kobe Cancel, Carrabec High School
• Abby Waceken, Erskine Academy
• Christian E. Heath, Gardiner Area High School
• Gabrielle Brodek, Hampden Academy
• Emma Curnin, Kents Hill School
• Alexandra Ackroyd, Maine Central Institute
• Joshua Beckett, Medomak Valley
• Jai Aslam, Messalonskee High School
• Forrest Norcott, Mt. Abram High School
• Emma Michalowski, Presque Isle High School
• Abigail Abbott, Rangeley Lakes Regional School
• Brianna Housman, Searsport District High School
• Brennin Consalvi, Shead High School
• Brittany Pomeroy, Sumner Memorial High School
• Bethanie Brown, Waterville Senior High School