Senior Sabrina Small finished first in this year’s high school Poetry Out Loud competition. She was among six finalists from the four grades, including: ninth graders Eric Bloch and Myah Garrison, sophomore Wilson Haims, junior Sylvia Holland, and senior Riley Smith. These students advanced through the preliminary round to the finals and each presented two poems from memory. Sabrina’s winning entries were “At Melville’s Tomb” by Harte Crane, and “Poor Angels” by Edward Hirsch. Sabrina will represent Maine Coast at the Poetry Out Loud Regionals in late February.
We deeply appreciate the work of the three individuals who served as judges for the event: Marjolaine Whittlesey, regional actor and teaching artist associate at The Telling Room; Josh Bodwell, Executive Director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance; and John Farrell, Artistic Director of the Figures of Speech Theatre.
Poetry Out Loud began as a national competition in 2006; it was the brainchild of then Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, and has been jointly sponsored ever since by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Students recite poems by heart that they have selected from the Poetry Out Loud anthology on line. Students who reach the regional competition must perform three pieces. State winners receive cash prizes, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., and the opportunity to win major college scholarships. In Maine Coast’s seven prior years of competing, the school has placed three students in the state finals, including Sylvia Holland last year. In 2012, Tyler O’Brien earned top honors as Maine State Poetry Out Loud Champion.