This year’s Poetry Out Loud competition was held Jan. 19 at Medomak Valley High School’s Dolloff Auditorium. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level; winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition and, ultimately, to the National Finals. MVHS winners are Kaitlyn Theberge and Erica Dailey.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation created Poetry Out Loud as a program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the State Arts Agencies of the United States to support an expansion of Poetry Out Loud.

Since it was piloted in 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to include hundreds of thousands of students across the country. Champions from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico compete at the National Finals in Washington, DC.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to