Sunday, April 25, 2010

National Finals of Poetry Out Loud Underway

At 9:00 am on Monday, William Whitham from Bangor High School will take to the stage in the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. to represent Maine in the national final of Poetry Out Loud.

William is in the nation’s capital for the second year running after finishing in the top 12 of the contest last year. Once again he will compete against 53 champions from every state and territory in what has been an incredible year for this competition which began with over 400,000 students competing across the country.

During the final William will recite three poems from memory in front of an audience of up to 1,000 people. The poems he has selected for the final are “Come up from the Fields Father” by Walt Whitman; "Doña Josefina Counsels Doña Concepción Before Entering Sears" by Maurice Kilwein Guevara; and "Alabanza: in Praise of Local 100" by Martín Espada.

The schedule for William is rather grueling. After an opening banquet Sunday night, William competes in the first of the semifinals on Monday morning. On Tuesday morning there is a Congressional Breakfast in the Cannon House Office Building where William will meet with Senator Susan Collins, Senator Olympia Snowe and Congressman Michaud before being whisked back to the GWU in order to compete in the grand final (reliant upon his performance in the semifinals).

William’s family is here in D.C to cheer him on, and we are sure that there will be many well wishers back in Maine sending their positive thoughts.

You can follow Williams’s progress in the contest through the Maine Arts Commission’s tweets by visiting,

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