Poetry Out Loud Champ

March 15, 2015

Rose Horowitz is the Poetry Out Loud Maine State Champion

Rose Horowitz reciting

Rose Horowitz reciting

Augusta – Rose Horowitz, an 11th grader at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, won the 2015 Poetry Out Loud competition on March 11 at the Waterville Opera House. Ella Werner, a 10th grader at Yarmouth High School, was the runner-up. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored annually at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. This year’s competition included almost 10,000 students in 45 public and private Maine high schools. After participating in classroom, school-wide and regional level competitions, 10 state finalists gathered at the Waterville Opera House to recite three rounds of poetry from memory in the Maine State Final. Horowitz recited three poems: “Lovers’ Infiniteness” by John Donne, “Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth, and “Entirely” by Louis MacNeice.

Poetry Out Loud was established in 2006. In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the past state champions were invited to participate. Opening the program was the 2008 champion Kate McKeown, a former student at Leavitt Area High School in Turner, whose inspirational words included “recitation transforms words into music.” Interspersed throughout the program, were audio clips from four other Maine state champions including Kate (Reynolds) Bengtson, Erskine Academy (2007); William Whitham, Bangor High School (2009, 2010); Tyler O’Brien, Merriconeag Waldorf High School (2012); and Charlotte Feinberg, Gorham High School (2014). The first year of the program, Riva Dumont from Erskine Academy represented Maine and was one of the 10 finalists at the national competition. She delighted the Waterville Opera House audience with her recitation of the poem “Beauty” by Tony Hoagland.

POL2015_DSC_0365_EDITAs the Maine State Champion, Horowitz will represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on April 28 and 29 in Washington, D.C. where students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico will compete for the national title and a total of $50,000 in awards, including a grand prize of $20,000, and school stipends for the purchase of poetry. All prizes, as well as all materials for running this popular program in high schools across the nation, come from the National Endowment for the Arts and their partner in Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Foundation.

In addition to Horowitz and Werner, other state finalists were: Mohammad Hashmi, Bangor High School; Josef Biberstein, Freeport High School; Mariah Lang, Gardiner Area High School; Emma Curnin, Kents Hill High School; Charlotte Eisenberg, North Yarmouth Academy; Emma Weissenfels, Oak Hill High School; Owen Sinclair, Rangeley Lakes Regional School; and Isabella Labbe, Waterville Senior High School.

Messalonskee High School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of music educator Andrew Forster, provided musical interludes.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, visit http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/POL-Home or contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission at argy.nestor@maine.gov

The Maine Arts Commission shall encourage and stimulate public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; shall expand the state’s cultural resources; and shall encourage and assist freedom of artistic expression for the well being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.



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