CONCORD — Politics will take a back seat at the New Hampshire State House in Concord during the 2019 N.H. Poetry Out Loud Championship on March 15, when accomplished high school students from across the state convene in Representative’s Hall and compete to represent New Hampshire at the national finals in Washington, D.C.

Students reciting at the New Hampshire state championship have won their high school group competitions and performed at the top levels of the four regional semi-finals. At the championship, they will each present poems from an anthology curated by the Poetry Foundation. Competitors must recite at least one poem written before the 20th century and one that is 25 lines or fewer.

New Hampshire poet Kristen Ringman will perform several of her original works at the event. Ringman is deaf; American Sign Language interpreters will translate her work and all performances throughout the evening.

The 2019 N.H. Poetry Out Loud Championship begins promptly at 5 p.m. It is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.

Organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and led in New Hampshire by the N.H. State Council on the Arts, Poetry Out Loud has become a high-profile annual event at high schools across New Hampshire, with up to 10,000 students from 45 high schools and high school groups participating each year.

The program’s public speaking and presentation requirements help students become better candidates for success both in the workforce and in higher education. Participants consistently report that learning and reciting poetry is an experience that changes their lives.

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.”

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