Maine Poetry Out Loud finals Feb. 26

The 2014 Maine State Finals for the national Poetry Out Loud program will take place on Feb. 26 at the Waterville Opera House. Kathleen Shannon, co-anchor of WCSH television’s 207 program, will emcee the event. Doors open to the public at 3:30 p.m. and the event begins at 4 p.m. The event is free and no advanced tickets are required.

Poetry Out Loud is organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. It begins in Maine’s high schools where more than 8,000 students participated in school-wide competitions this academic year. Each school selects a school champion to compete in two regional finals at which 20 students are ultimately selected to participate in the Maine State Finals. One student moves on from the State Finals to represent Maine at the National Finals in Washington D.C., where students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will compete.

Begun in high schools nationwide in 2006, the program encourages our nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. In addition to providing a meaningful arts education experience of poetry in written and spoken form, prizes are awarded to successful students and schools at the state and national level, including a $20,000 scholarship awarded to the National Champion.

For more information, please visit http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/POL-Home or contact Argy Nestor, director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission at argy.nestor@maine.gov or 207-287-2713.