Posts Tagged ‘Poetry Out Loud’

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Maine Poetry Out Loud

December 11, 2017

Poets go to school

The Poetry Out Loud (POL) program is underway across Maine and the country. Over 10,000 Maine high students are selecting their poems, furiously memorizing and practicing them for themselves, their classmates, and their teachers.

Maine has 48 high schools participating this year, 10 new to POL. At some schools every student, grade 9-12 participates. Maine is repeatedly one of the states with the highest participation and this year will be no exception.  The 2017 Maine State Champ, Gabrielle Cooper, attended Gardiner Area High School; one of the schools where all students participate every year. Three of the new schools this year were fortunate to have

Winthrop High School students with Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

poets visit them to work with students and teachers. Portland’s fifth Poet Laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc provided a workshop at Winthrop High School and Hampshire County Council’s Hampshire Poet Brian Evans-Jones provided workshops at Herman High School and Van Buren District Secondary School.

Students had a chance to experiment with their voices and ‘try out’ their poems for feedback. Both Gibson and Brian are on the MAC Teaching Artist roster and available to provide workshops for schools and community organizations.

Brian at Hermon High School

Thanks to all of the teachers who are working with students across Maine. I was thrilled to be at Hermon High School for the workshops. Brian led the students through exercises to help prepare their voices and their confidence. He said: “It’s important to understand your poem. The better you understand your poem the better you communicate the meaning and with that comes confidence.” Even listening to students recite their poems 2 and 3 times, I could hear their confidence rise.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) 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.  This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Maine’s POL represent public and private high schools as well as high school homeschooling populations.

You have a chance to learn more about POL in Maine. The Maine Arts Commission invites you to attend the regional and state finals.

  • The Northern Maine Regional Finals will be held on Monday, February 12, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center, Hampden. The snow date is Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 3:00 PM. Hampden Academy, Regional School Unit #22, is an in-kind sponsor of this event.
  •  The Southern Maine Regional Finals will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Westbrook Middle School Performing Arts Center, Westbrook. The snow date is Thursday, March 1, 2018, 3:00 p.m.
  • The Maine State Finals will be held on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the Waterville Opera House, 93 Main Street, Waterville. The snow date is Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Doors open to the public at 2:30 p.m. and the event begins at 3:00 p.m. No tickets are required. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. We anticipate that the event will conclude by approximately 5:00 p.m.

Working with teachers at Hermon High School

Learn more about the POL program at the national site or at the Maine Arts Commission POL webpages. If you teach or live near a high school that does not participate please plan on joining the program in the 2018-19 school year. Email Argy Nestor if you have any questions about how to get involved!

 

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POL Registration is Open

September 21, 2017

Poetry Out Loud for high school students

The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce that school registration for the 2017-2018 Poetry Out Loud program is now open. Schools can find online all information about the program and register quickly and easily. The registration deadline is November 6, 2017. Immediately following registration, each school’s identified contact teacher will be sent program materials and teacher toolkits, which include the newly revised Poetry Out Loud 2017-2018 Teacher’s Guide, for all participating teachers/staff members.

REGISTER NOW!

Poetry Out Loud is organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation; it is administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. Begun in high schools nationwide in 2006, this dynamic program encourages our nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. Students have the opportunity to choose from among 900+ poems in the official Poetry Out Loud anthology and then bring their selected poems to life. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. In addition to providing a meaningful educational experience of poetry in written and spoken form, over $100,000 in awards is given to successful students and schools at the state and national level, including $20,000 awarded to the National Champion.


Poetry Out Loud offers high school teachers an easy-to-use, standards-based program to help students discover a range of poets from Emily Dickinson to Richard Blanco to Gwendolyn Brooks. Participating teachers receive free materials including a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and access to audio-visual materials on the art of recitation.

We are thrilled that over 9,500 students and 205 teachers from 42 high schools across Maine participated in Poetry Out Loud in 2016-2017. We anticipate that this school year will be just as exciting and we encourage all teachers to consider giving their students throughout your school the opportunity to shine in this nationwide celebration of poetry!

Gabrielle Cooper, 2017 Maine State Poetry Out Loud Champ, Gardiner Area High School

You can view a brief video of Maine’s 2017 Top 10 Poetry Out Loud finalists discussing what poetry and performance art means to them. Highlights from the 2017 regional and state finals are also included.

Available to view and share is the promotional national videos entitled “Get involved in POL!” and “Why Poetry Out Loud?” Additionally, we recommend that you share a short article from The Atlantic entitled “Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important” (April 2014) with students, teaching colleagues, administrators and parents. It is our hope that these resources may help you publicize Poetry Out Loud in your school and support your school’s participation in the program this year.

Please note that Poetry Out Loud can take place in your school anytime between now and January 8, 2018, as the program does not require full class periods and can be completed in just two to three weeks; however, teachers are encouraged to consider making Poetry Out Loud a larger part of their school’s curriculum. Specific lesson plans as well as an explanation of the alignment with both the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Standards and Common Core State Standards are available.

Timeline 

September – November 2017 School Registration (ongoing)
November 6, 2017 Last day to register for Poetry Out Loud
January 8, 2018 Last day for school-wide competitions
January 16, 2018 Last day for Regional Finals Registration
January 22, 2018

January 25, 2018

Last day for Regional Workshop Registration

Northern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m.)

(Hampden Academy)

January 30, 2018 Snow date for Northern Regional Workshop
February 5, 2018 Southern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m.)

(Portland Public Library)

February 6, 2018 Snow date for Southern Regional Workshop
February 12, 2018 Northern Maine Regional Finals

(Performing Arts Center, Hampden Academy)

February 13, 2018 Snow date for Northern Maine Regional Finals
February 28, 2018 Southern Maine Regional Finals

(venue to be announced)

March 2, 2018 Snow date for Southern Maine Regional Finals
March 12, 2018 Maine State Finals (Waterville Opera House)
March 13, 2018 Snow date for Maine State Finals
April 23-25, 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Finals (Washington, DC)

 

Maine State Finals POL participants

If we can provide any assistance with registration or program planning for your school’s Poetry Out Loud program, please contact Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

 

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POL South Dakota Champ

July 14, 2017

A Platform for a Powerful Voice

The following was written by Ms. Madison Lukomski, South Dakota’s Poetry Out Loud champ and finalist for the National Poetry Out Loud champ. It was published in the Americans for the Arts journal on June 28, 2017.


“I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen,
and so I swung into action and wrote a poem.”

“Mingus at The Showplace” by William Matthews


Ms. Madison Lukomski

The first lines of Matthews’ poem truly resonated with me when I first read it, though at first I couldn’t identify why. On the surface, the poem itself is a light-hearted account of a young teenager attempting to find a way to express his voice. The humor is dry, the characterization is vivid, and the storyline unpredictable—and as a moody 17-year-old, I was hooked on every word!

It was so beautiful to me—that a 17-year-old boy in the poem could experience intense emotion and feel moved enough to share his poetry with “genius” Mingus, as he says. He was miserable, but he didn’t keep his misery locked away.

When I was seventeen, my father suddenly had a heart attack and passed away on Christmas Eve. There was really no outlet for my pain; most people didn’t feel comfortable talking to me and my sister, and no one felt comfortable doing anything to help us. The effect was extremely isolating—people would merely stare and whisper. I had never felt so alone.

I had never written poetry before, but there was an opportunity through Poetry Out Loud for me to create a poem and submit it for a supplementary competition. I had such a deep love for poetry at this point, and I felt like this opportunity deserved exploring. So, I did it. Five drafts of work yielded “My Sleeves,” a poetic tribute to my father, in a way.

That poem ended up getting first place in the nation in the Poetry Ourselves competition.

The entire experience was humbling. Every time I shared my poem in person with others, they showed genuine appreciation for having experienced what I had worked so extremely hard to put into words. This poem, this verbalization of the most intense and horrible and painful emotions I had ever experienced, became my way of honoring my father.

Maddie Lukomski performs at the 2016 Poetry Out Loud national competition.

I remember performing my poem once for my peers in the South Dakota Honor Choir during their talent show. I was absolutely terrified to share my words with them (I actually backed right into a wall on my way out because I was so overwhelmed), but I did it because I genuinely loved the words that went into this poem, and I genuinely felt that I had something worth hearing in the notes section of my phone. On stage in the middle of my poem during a pause, a girl let out one audible sob right before the last lines of the poem. Later she came up to me and told me that her mother was in the hospital and had been in a coma for some time. She told me that every word I spoke resonated with her, related to her on a level neither one of us could understand.

Poetry Out Loud gave me a link to connect to others with. It gave me the empowerment to confidently and unapologetically exist. It let me speak with my own voice. I will never, in my entire life, forget this organization and all of the people who created it. Without it, I solidly feel as though I would still be lost. I would feel as though my thoughts were not worth sharing, that my existence STILL had to be apologized for. I owe everything to Poetry Out Loud and I owe everything to art.

I will be forever thankful for my journey thus far, and forever eager for whatever is to come; and I can thank my poetry for instilling that in me.

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In Today’s News

May 3, 2017

Maine POL champ in the news

As you may know Gabrielle Cooper, a senior at Gardiner Area High School, represented Maine last week in Washington, D.C. at the national finals. The Kennebec Journal interviewed Gabrielle for an article.

In her own words: “The best part of the entire journey was the people, from the English teachers to the Maine Arts Commission and to all the other competitors,” she said. “It was the people that made it a great experience and what I’ll remember the most.”

The article provides many details about Gabrielle’s experiences during Poetry Out Loud. Read the article by CLICKING HERE.

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Maine State Poetry Out Loud

March 24, 2017

Hot off the screen – POL video

The Maine Arts Commission Marketing Director Ryan Leighton created this video that documents the recent state Poetry Out Loud event. It is so great to hear what the students have to say about what POL means to them. If you’d like to learn more about the program in Maine please CLICK HERE.

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Congratulations Gabrielle!

March 17, 2017

Gardiner Area High School Senior Gabrielle Cooper

Gardiner High School Senior Gabrielle Cooper Maine Poetry Out Loud State Champ
Natalie Lisnet, senior at Bangor High School, is runner up

AUGUSTA, ME, MARCH 13– The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce that Gabrielle Cooper, a senior from Gardiner High School, won the Maine Poetry Out Loud State Finals and is on her way to the nationals in Washington, D.C. in April. Natalie Lisnet, a senior from Bangor High School took runner-up. Cooper won the championship in three rounds of readings among 10 finalists representing Maine’s northern and southern regionals.

The Maine Arts Commission organizes the poetry recitation contest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Jennifer Rooks, public affairs host and producer at Maine Public Broadcasting Network was the master of ceremonies for the event at the Waterville Opera House. The event also featured music from the Maranacook Chamber Singers and a reading by Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum.

Poetry Out Loud Maine Champion Gabrielle Cooper poses with her first place trophy. It was Cooper’s first time competing in the state and regional finals. She will now move on to Washington D.C. to compete in the national championship.

“I think that when a poem works and a poet gets to the point where he or she wants to get, it’s because they made a discovery in their work,” Kesterbaum said while speaking to the finalists during intermission. “I think when you spoke those poems, you were making that same discovery in the words that the poet made.”

All 10 contestants recited two poems by memory before intermission, at which time the panel of four judges selected five finalists. In the final round of five, Cooper recited “To Be of Use,” by Marge Piercy, a poem Cooper said, is about the value of hard work and how nice it is to see progress in your efforts.

In her spare time, Cooper enjoys horseback riding, playing in her school band and volunteering with Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program. Cooper will attend Dartmouth College next fall, where she hopes to pursue a degree in economics.

After the event, Cooper thanked her mom and English teachers for all the support and effort they put into helping her along the way.

Maine Poetry Out Loud State Finalists: (left to right): Emma Beyor, Kate Hodgson, Amran Mahamed, Skyler Vaughn, Arielle Leeman, Antyna Gould, Gabrielle Cooper, Natalie Lisnet, Jordan Bryant and Sabrina Small.

“They helped me a lot with practicing after school, during my study halls, breaking down my poems for me, and giving me feedback after the regional competition,” Cooper said. “That’s been a great help. It’s been nice to spend that time with them.”

Cooper will receive $200, as well as a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for Gardiner High School. She will then represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington D.C. on April 25-26. Cooper will compete for the first place award of a $20,000 scholarship. In total, $50,000 in prizes and school stipends will be awarded to the top 10 finalists and their schools.

In addition to Cooper and Lisnet, the other state finalists were: Emma Beyor, Erskine Academy; Kate Hodgson, Camden Regional High School; Amran Mahamed, Deering High School; Skyler Vaughn, The Maine Girls’ Academy; Arielle Leeman, Morse High School; Antyna Gould, Medomak Valley High School; Jordan Bryant, Greely High School; and Sabrina Small, Maine Coast Waldorf School.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud, and for how your school can participate next year, 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. Videos of the Poetry Out Loud state and regional finals will be made available on the Maine Arts Commission youtube and Facebook page: https://www.youtube.com/user/VirtualMaineArts.

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted 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. Additional information is available at mainearts.com.

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In Today’s News

March 14, 2017

State POL Champ

Photo by staff photographer David Leaming

This is from today’s Morning Sentinel. Read about Maine’s new Poetry Out Loud Champ. Exciting event that took place yesterday at the Waterville Opera House in front of an almost full house of poetry appreciators!

CLICK HERE for the link to the article from today’s newspaper.

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