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Massachusetts High School Students Compete At State Semi-Finals Of Poetry Out Loud

The Huntington Theatre Company's Education Department and Mass Cultural Council celebrate the 14th anniversary of the national Poetry Out Loud contest, having facilitated the contest in Massachusetts since its inception in 2006. This year, seventy-two high school students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will participate in five regional semi-final contests March 2, March 3, and March 4. Semi-final contests will be held in Boston, Cape Cod, Framingham, Newburyport, and Springfield. All upcoming contests are free and open to the public.

With support from the Huntington Theatre Company's Education Department more than 21,000 students from 82 high schools and 590 teachers across Massachusetts participated in Poetry Out Loud, including classroom and school-wide contests. A complete list of the schools that integrated Poetry Out Loud into their curriculum this year can be found at the end of this release.

Each of the students participating in the upcoming semi-final contests were recently named their school's champion. Twenty-five of the semi-finalists will advance to the state final contest on Sunday, March 10 at 9:30am at Boston's Old South Meeting House.

The Huntington's Education Department facilitates the Massachusetts state-wide contests in partnership with the Mass Cultural Council. The program is facilitated nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Semi-Final Contest Information:

Framingham: Saturday March 2, 10am

Amazing Things Arts Center

160 Hollis Street, Framingham 01702

Newburyport: Saturday, March 2, 10am

Newburyport City Hall

60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport 01950

Cape Cod: Sunday, March 3, 1pm

Cultural Center of Cape Cod

307 Old Main Street, South Yarmouth 02664

Springfield: Sunday, March 3, 10am

Community Music School of Springfield

127 State Street, Springfield 01103

Boston: Monday, March 4, 7pm

Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

527 Tremont Street, Boston 02116

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest and an appreciation of students' literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.

The Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC from Monday, April 29 - Wednesday, May 1 to compete in the national finals.

Semi-Final judges include: Daniel Johnson (Executive Director, Mass Poetry) , Cookie Gamble (YMCA of Greater Boston Youth Director), John Bonnani (Editor of Cape Cod Poetry Review), and Massachusetts poets Polly Brown, Heather Hughes, Deirdre Callanan, and Denise Fontaine-Pincince.


Recitation and performance are major trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Huntington sponsor the Massachusetts contest; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation sponsor the competition on the national level.

Learn more about Poetry Out Loud at

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