For Immediate Release
Posted: February 01, 2023


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

In-person semi-finals return for 2023 NH Poetry Out Loud competition

New Hampshire high school students who excel at their love for memorizing and reciting poetry will come together for several semi-final competitions this month, hoping to head to the 2023 N.H. Poetry Out Loud championship. These will be the first in-person semi-finals since 2020.

Three regional competitions will take place, with champions from 30 New Hampshire high schools and school groups that participated in the 2023 program taking to the stage to recite two poems they selected from the Poetry Out Loud collection of some the best-known and respected poetry ever written.

A panel of judges will score their presentations based on accuracy, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness and other factors.

Top-scoring students from each semi-final then advance to the state final competition, which will be held at Representatives Hall in the N.H. State House on March 17.

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

Semi-final locations, dates, times and snow dates are:
-    Plymouth State University; Feb. 16, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 17)
-    New England College, Henniker; Feb. 21, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 22)
-    Rochester Opera House; Feb. 23, 6:00 p.m. (snow date: Feb. 24)

A national recitation program for high school-aged students, Poetry Out Loud has participants select, memorize and recite classic and contemporary poems, helping them to master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

There is no cost to students, schools or school groups to participate in Poetry Out Loud, which 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.

In New Hampshire, Poetry Out Loud starts locally at the classroom, school or participating organization level, with top performers advancing to regional semi-finals, then the state competition and ultimately to the national finals, which are scheduled to take place in Washington D.C., May 8-10.

A study commissioned by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation found that Poetry Out Loud participants reported having more confidence in group discussions, were 1.7 times more likely to have four-year college or graduate school aspirations and were 1.5 times more likely to engage in community service and volunteering than non-participants.

To learn more about 2023 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