Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The Maine Arts Commission today announced Tyler O’Brien of Merriconeag Waldorf High School as the 2012 State Poetry Out Loud Champion and Kiana Sawyer, from Portland High School, as the State Runner-up. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.
After surviving classroom, school wide and regional level competitions, ten state finalists gathered in Lewiston to recite three rounds of poetry from memory in front of television cameras and a packed audience at the Olin Arts Center. Tyler O’Brien was selected as state champion and will now represent the State of Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on May 13-15 in Washington, D.C.
O’Brien, a student who plays the violin and guitar as well as representing his school in various sports and community projects was eager to compliment his fellow competitors, "It was very exciting to share the stage with nine extraordinary people,” he said, “and I am glad I got the chance to participate in such a great competition as Poetry Out Loud.”
O’Brien impressed a top panel of judges to become the 2012 State Champion reciting three poems during the competition: “A Super Market in California” By Allen Ginsberg, “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley and “The End of Science Fiction” By Lisel Mueller.
O’Brien will receive an all expenses paid trip for two to the national final, where he will compete for the national title and $50,000 in cash prizes including a grand prize of $20,000. All prizes, as well as all materials for running this popular program in high schools across the nation, come directly from the National Endowment for the Arts and their partner in Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Foundation.