January 21, 2018
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Portland students win Poetry Out Loud competition

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PORTLAND, Maine — Blakey Bessire, a sophomore at Portland High School, won the school’s recent Poetry Out Loud competition.

Joel Kahn, a freshman, won Deering High School’s competition, and Liva Pierce, a freshman, won Casco Bay High School’s first-ever competition. They will represent their schools at 4 p.m. Feb. 6, at Maine’s Southern Regional Finals at Biddeford City Theater.

Blakey recited “Portrait d’ une Femme” by Ezra Pound and “Much Madness is divinest Sense” by Emily Dickinson. Joel recited “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe and “The Maldive Shark” by Herman Melville. Liva recited “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” by Billy Collins and “Through a Glass Eye, Lightly,” by Carolyn Kizer.

Poetry Out Loud (www.poetryoutloud.org) is a project organized in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Millions of students across the country participate by
reciting published poems from memory.  They are evaluated on factors such as physical presence, voice and articulation, level of complexity and evidence of understanding.

Those who win school and regional competitions advance to the state contest. Champions from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico compete at the national finals in
Washington, D.C., in the spring.