AUGUSTA — The Maine Arts Commission recently announced that the 2012-13 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest is set to begin in high schools across the state. Schools wishing to participate should visit MaineArts.com for details.

The Maine Arts Commission works with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to organize a state competition that begins at the classroom level and culminates at the Maine finals.

The state champion will be awarded $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship in April 2013. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Participants at the national level will be awarded a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends; a $20,000 award will be presented to the Poetry Out Loud national champion.

The program was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation as a way to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry — recitation and performance.

Schools participating in the program are provided with curriculum materials that include poetry anthologies, DVDs and CDs. The program does not require full class periods and can be completed in two to three weeks.

Teachers can register their school online. For more information, call Meagan Mattingly at 287-2790 or email [email protected] maine.gov.

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