Archive for April, 2021


Theatre Videos

April 29, 2021

American Alliance for Theatre & Education

Outstanding videos are being created by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education and are periodically being released. The video below features award-winning playwright Alvaro Saar Rios who shares the importance of ‘telling your story’. He speaks from his heart and encourages the viewer to ‘just tell your story”. All the videos are located at THIS LINK.


Documentary Songwriters

April 28, 2021

Teaching Artist Training Program

This summer Documentary Songwriters will be offering a professional development opportunity to learn more about being a Documentary Songwriter Teaching Artist.


First, we teach a collaborative method of songwriting that creates lyrics directly from spoken stories. We harness the power inherent in human speech to create deeply emotional songs.

Second, we are committed to giving you the necessary skills to integrate this songwriting method with your ongoing work. In addition to learning the steps of the Documentary Songwriting Method, you will learn how to create a safe space that invites others to share, you will learn how to plan and follow through with projects, and you will learn valuable self-care and emotional processing tactics to implement when dealing with emotional stories.

Finally, our training rests in experiential education. Each day, participants will be challenged to be open, vulnerable, and in a space of growth. You will have the opportunity to practice every skill that we learn, both musical and interpersonal, in real-world scenarios.

If you are ready to listen deeply and expand your musical offering and teaching techniques, then this course is for you. Join us as we learn to spread the power of high-quality songwriting across the globe.


A documentary song is a song that comes from a person’s spoken words about an actual, lived experience. The song documents the emotions of the experience through music. It is a method of co-writing music that fosters empathy, boosts self-confidence and strengthens community.

Three qualities of a docking:

  • Authenticity: The song arises from the spoken words of an individual’s lived experience.
  • Accessibility: The melody and words can be sung by people without trained voices.
  • Artistry: The song expresses a shared exploration of ideas and suggestions from its Story Source and Teaching Artist.

Learn more at THIS LINK about many of the projects. A collection of songs that have come from the project are at THIS LINK.

The summer teaching artist training program will be an enriching and meaningful professional development opportunity for musicians and educators who would like to broaden their experience telling stories and building connection through music. For more information, contact Nora Willauer at


Social Justice Songwriting

April 27, 2021


A two-part social justice songwriting workshop! The Strand Theatre in Rockland is thrilled to host folk music group Ants on a Log for a two-part social justice songwriting workshop — “Speak Up, Sing Out” — on April 29 and May 6 from 5-6:00 p.m. over Zoom. Open to local young people ages 10-14, participants will learn how to use their voices to express themselves through song. Students should plan to attend both sessions. Participation is FREE but availability is extremely limited — please secure your spot by emailing Education Manager Brittany Parker at You will receive your Zoom link once your registration is confirmed. 

This project is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts


Poetry & the Creative Mind

April 26, 2021

7 of 7 – poetry related posts

Celebrating 25 years of National Poetry Month as it comes to a close for 2021. This looks to be an exciting opportunity scheduled for Thursday, April 29, 7:30, VIRTUAL, FREE, and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!



100 Languages

April 25, 2021

Blog post – 6 of 6 Poetry

No way. The hundred is there

To close out a week of blog posts on Poetry Out Loud I share this poem and ask you to pause and consider a poem that might provide inspiration for the work and play that you do each day.

The child

is made of one hundred.

The child has

a hundred languages

a hundred hands

a hundred thoughts

a hundred ways of thinking

of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred

ways of listening

of marveling of loving

a hundred joys

for singing and understanding

a hundred worlds

to discover

a hundred worlds

to invent

a hundred worlds

to dream.

The child has

a hundred languages

(and a hundred hundred hundred more)

but they steal ninety-nine.

The school and the culture

separate the head from the body.

They tell the child:

to think without hands

to do without head

to listen and not to speak

to understand without joy

to love and to marvel

only at Easter and Christmas.

They tell the child:

to discover the world already there

and of the hundred

they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:

that work and play

reality and fantasy

science and imagination

sky and earth

reason and dream

are things

that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child

that the hundred is not there.

The child says:

No way. The hundred is there.

Loris Malaguzzi   (translated by Lella Gandini)


Poetry and Education

April 24, 2021

5 of 6 Poetry

On April 19 the focus of the Maine Calling show was Poetry Education: A Statewide Focus on Poetry During the Pandemic. You can listen to the recording at THIS LINK and learn more in this blog post about the show and the resources that public radio has made available.

Perhaps it’s due to Amanda Gorman’s wildly popular Inaugural poem, perhaps it’s because people are seeking meaning and beauty during the pandemic… but, whatever the reason, poetry is having a moment. It’s National Poetry Month. Among the many events and initiatives underway is a new statewide effort to promote poetry education to raise appreciation and understand of poetry among students—and the general public as well. We’ll learn about poetry programs and events, and hear about how poets in Maine have been faring during the pandemic.


Morgan Dunton, English language arts specialist, grades 6-12, Maine Department of Education
Richard Blanco, poet, author, speaker, civil engineer; inaugural poet for Obama’s second inauguration
Emily Paruk, 12th grader, Gorham High School, 2021 winner of state Poetry Out Loud competition
Suzanne Langlois, poet; English teacher, Falmouth High School; leads poetry club
Stuart Kestenbaum, Maine’s poet laureate, author of six poetry collections, host of Maine Public’s Poems From Here
Terry Farish, author of several young adult books, including “The Good Braider,” a novel in verse



POL Champ and Runner-up

April 23, 2021

4 0f 6 – Poetry

In an earlier post during the past week you read about the 10 students from Maine high schools who were finalists the Maine Poetry Out Loud program. After three rounds of recitations Emily Paruk, a senior from Gorham High School emerged to represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud event on May 2. If she is successful on that day Emily will compete in the national finals on May 27. The runner-up is Helen Strout, a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School.

Emily Paruk recited Once the World Was Perfect by Joy Harjo, Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings, and view Emily reciting  “Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning” by Emily Bronte below.

View Helen Strout reciting “I Know, I Remember, But How Can I Help You?” by Hayden Carruth below.

Maine’s Poetry Out Loud program is organized by the Maine Arts Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

For more information about Maine Poetry Out Loud, visit or contact Meg Fournier, Interim Director of Media and Performing Arts, Maine Arts Commission at More than four million students have participated in Poetry Out Loud over the past 16 years, many advancing from classroom competitions to school competitions to state competitions to, finally, the national finals. For more information about the national Poetry Out Loud program, visit


Poetry Out Loud

April 22, 2021

Blog post 3 of 6 – Poetry

Read about the national event and details at THIS LINK. If you teach at a Maine high school and would like your school to participate during the 2021-22 school year you can get started now by reading about the details of the program. There are many components and planning ahead will help you prepare. The program is administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission.


National Poetry Out Loud

April 21, 2021

Blog post 2 of 6 – Poetry

Washington, DC—For the first time in the program’s 16-year history, the Poetry Out Loud™ national semifinals and finals will be held virtually this May. Each year, high school students nationwide experience Poetry Out Loud, memorizing and reciting classic and contemporary poetry and participating in local, regional, and state competitions. From the thousands of students who competed in 2020-2021, 55 finalists—one from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa—will advance to compete in the Poetry Out Loud national finals. The virtual finals will culminate in the announcement of the 2021 national champion, who will receive a grand prize of $20,000. Visit for the list of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud state and jurisdictional champions and their high schools.

Representing Maine at the national event will be Emily Paruk from Gorham High School. Emily will be reciting Once the World Was Perfect by Joy Harjo, Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings, and [‘Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning’] by Emily Bronte. You can learn more about Maine’s state recitations and hear Emily reciting at the blog post from yesterday, April 20.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. This national program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students, helping them to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The 2021 finalists come from a diverse range of communities around the United States, including for the first time Guam and American Samoa.

“We know this has been a challenging year for students and we hope Poetry Out Loud has provided them with an opportunity to find joy, comfort, or explore new ideas in a poem,” said Ann Eilers, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “We encourage audiences to tune in to the national finals to celebrate the hard work and incredible accomplishments of these students and cheer on their state champions.”

On Sunday, May 2, 2021 beginning at 12pm ET, the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals will be broadcast through a one-time-only webcast at Each of the 55 champions submit in advance video recordings of their poetry recitations, which will be reviewed and scored by judges with expertise in poetry, performance, and the literary arts. The recitations from all 55 students will be broadcast on May 2 as part of one of three regional semifinals, and will include the announcement of the top nine students (three from each region) who will advance in the competition. Visit for the full semifinals schedule.

On Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 pm ET, actor and writer Shaun Taylor-Corbett will host the 2021 Poetry Out Loud national finals. Webcast at, the evening will feature pre-recorded recitations, live interviews with the top nine finalists, and the live announcement of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The national finals judges will include Cathy Linh CheEduardo C. CorralGabriel CortezIdris GoodwinElisa New, and Branden Wellington.

“We are so grateful to our partners across the country for making Poetry Out Loud possible in this evolving reality,” said Justine Haka, Poetry Foundation program manager. “The students themselves have been an inspiration, joining this program because they are open to the power of poetry and what it can do to connect us while we are apart.”

A total of $50,000 in awards and school or organizational stipends will be awarded at the national finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded for Poetry Out Loud. The Poetry Out Loud national finals are administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Closed captioning and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided for both the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals and finals.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #POL21 and #IAmPoetryOutLoud and follow the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation at @PoetryOutLoud@NEAArts, and @PoetryFound.

The Poetry Out Loud state champions also had the opportunity to highlight their own original poetry by competing in the Poetry Ourselves competition. State champions were able to submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories: either a written poem or a video of a spoken poem. The winner and runner-up in each category will be selected by poet Eve L. Ewing and announced in May.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom/school or at the local level with an area organization. Students memorize and recite poems they select from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. Winners then may advance to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the national finals. Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations across the nation have participated in Poetry Out Loud. For more information about Poetry Out Loud and how to participate in the 2021-2022 program, visit

Poetry Out Loud in Maine is administered by the Maine Arts Commission. For more information visit the MAC POL page at THIS LINK.


Maine Poetry Out Loud

April 20, 2021

Blog post 1 of 6 – Poetry

It is very exciting to see Allan Monga, Maine’s State Poetry Out Loud (POL) 2018 champ, as the emcee of the Maine state finals this year. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be held in person but how wonderful that they’ve been recorded so you can enjoy watching and listening to students from 10 Maine high schools reciting poetry.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Maine poetry student finalists and THANK YOU TEACHERS!

EMMA COLLINS, grade 12 – North Yarmouth Academy, Teacher: Ross Markonish

HAZEL DOW, grade 11 – Waterville Senior High School, Teacher: Thomas Creeley

KATELYN NESTOR, grade 10 – Gardiner Area High School, Teacher: Melissa Cheeseman

EMILY PARUK, grade 12 – Gorham High School, Teacher: Kerry Herlihy

ZEKE SITARZ, grade 12 – Lisbon High School, Teacher: Danielle Sylvia

SOFIA STOCKWELL, grade 10 – North Haven Community School, Teacher: Matt Rich

HELEN STOUT, grade 12 – Cape Elizabeth High School, Teacher: Lisa Melanson

ROSE TUTTLE, grade 9 – Mount Ararat High School, Teacher: Emily Vail

ADA VANCIL, grade 11 – John Bapst Memorial High School, Teacher: Jennifer Babcock

MAGNOLIA VANDIVER, grade 12 – George Stevens Academy, Teacher: Maria Johnson

After three rounds of strong performances, the Maine Arts Commission POL judges announced Emily Paruk, a senior from Gorham High School, to represent Maine in May at the National POL event. Helen Strout, a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School, finished runner-up. The Maine State Finals judges were Mihku Paul, Ekhlas Ahmed, Erica Rubin Irish, and Todd McKinley. 

Emily Paruk recited Once the World Was Perfect by Joy Harjo, Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings, and [‘Often Rebuked, Yet Always Back Returning’] by Emily Bronte.

This will be the first year in the program’s 16-year history that the national competition to be held virtually. Her first appearance is May 2 at noon during one of three semifinal matches. If she advances beyond the semifinal, Paruk will compete in the national finals on May 27 at 7 p.m.

Maine’s POL program is organized by the Maine Arts Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

For more information about Maine Poetry Out Loud, visit or contact Meg Fournier, Interim Director of Media and Performing Arts, Maine Arts Commission at More than four million students have participated in Poetry Out Loud over the past 16 years, many advancing from classroom competitions to school competitions to state competitions to, finally, the national finals. For more information about the national POL program, visit

The film includes three rounds of student recitation videos, as well as performances by musicians from Maine Academy of Modern Music. Enjoy the recorded state finals below.

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