For Immediate Release
Posted: February 05, 2024


Shelly Angers, NH Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136 |

NH Poetry Out Loud semi-finals expands to four locations for 2024

The annual Poetry Out Loud competition has proven so popular in New Hampshire that four semi-finals will take place across the state in February, the N.H. State Council on the Arts announced today.

Thirty-nine New Hampshire high schools and school groups will send students to the state semi-finals this year; throughout the program, approximately 5,000 students learned, memorized and performed some of the best-known classic and contemporary poetry ever written. The program helps participants master public speaking skills and build self-confidence while learning about literary history and contemporary life.

In New Hampshire, all high schools — public, private or parochial, as well as home school groups — are welcome to participate in Poetry Out Loud. Competitions often begin in the classroom, with top students advancing to school championships. Highest-scoring performers then move on to the regional semi-finals.

Semi-final locations, dates, times and snow dates for 2024 N.H. Poetry Out Loud are:
-    Rochester Opera House; Feb. 13, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 14)
-    Silver Center for the Arts, Plymouth; Feb. 15, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 16)
-    Tupelo Music Hall, Derry; Feb. 20, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb 21)
-    New England College, Henniker; Feb. 22, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 23)

At the regional semi-finals, competitors will recite two poems of their choosing from a collection curated by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. A panel of judges will score presentations based on accuracy, voice and articulation, interpretation, and other factors.

Top-scoring students from each semi-final then advance to the state final competition, which is scheduled to take place at the N.H. State House’s Representatives Hall in Concord on March 15.

New Hampshire’s champion will be eligible to travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals on April 30 – May 2, where $50,000 in awards and stipends will be awarded.

Poetry Out Loud is organized on the national level by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is facilitated in New Hampshire by the N.H. State Council on the Arts. There is no charge to participate and all materials are provided free of charge.

All New Hampshire semi-final competitions, as well as the championship, are open to the public and are free to attend.

To learn more about 2024 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud, visit For additional information, contact Allison Hawkins, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at 603-271-0791, 

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is a division of the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding for programs is provided through state appropriations, a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at