AUGUSTA – The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation are presenting Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission. Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington, D.C., for the national finals, where a $20,000 college scholarship will go to the Poetry Out Loud national champion.

The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Each state’s runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

The Maine Arts Commission is bringing the program from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to schools across the state again this year. Poetry Out Loud is a new program taking place in high schools across America this winter and spring.

It offers a schedule and curriculum designed to fit into a busy schedule without disruption. It provides the necessary materials that can cover two or three weeks between January and March, according to interest and schedule, and will not require full class periods during that time.

Information and program materials for Poetry Out Loud are available for review on the Web at

Teachers interested in bringing Poetry Out Loud into a classroom should e-mail Sally Wood or Ally Day from the Maine Arts Commission, [email protected] or call 287-2790.