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Reciting Other People’s Poetry

January 9, 2018

Poetry Out Loud

Maine’s 2016 POL State Finalists

Thousands of students across the country are reciting poetry as part of the Poetry Out Loud program. This week an article in Education Week describes how one teacher helps prepares students for their recitations.

Everyone is standing up and shouting at once in Lance Fisher’s English class, and that’s exactly what he wants them to do.

Fisher’s 12th grade students are reciting—more like hurling—poems at the walls. They stand in a big circle, facing outward, simultaneously reciting poems they’ve memorized (or almost memorized). The teenagers work on projecting their voices, animating their faces, gesturing with their hands. Snippets of verse by dead and living poets zig through the air.

The learning that takes place is much greater than memorizing a poem to recite in front of a class or school audience. The teacher from Mount Vernon, Washington, in the article, Lance Fisher says: “It also helps his English-learner students by exposing them to aspects of language they don’t otherwise use. You don’t have to die on stage like in Shakespeare to make this meaningful.  Just anchor on that poem and deliver it with power.”  

READ the entire article and learn more about the program. In Maine we have 48 high schools participating this year. Maine is one of the states with the highest participation in the country. Schools have been holding their school competitions to determine who will go on to the regional events to represent them. Poetry Out Loud is organized nationally 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 schools where school champions are selected to compete in two regional finals at which ten students are ultimately selected to recite at the state finals.

Maine regional and state final dates

February 12, 2018     Northern Maine Regional Finals (Performing Arts Center, Hampden Academy, 3 p.m.)

February 13, 2018     Snow date for Northern Maine Regional Finals

Feb 28, 2018               Southern Maine Regional Finals (Westbrook Middle School, 3 p.m.)

March 1, 2018            Snow date Southern Maine Regional Finals

March 14, 2018          Maine State Finals (3 p.m., Waterville Opera House)

March 20, 2018          Snow date for Maine State Finals

Learn more about Maine’s Poetry Out Loud program.

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