• Vandiver advances to Poetry Out Loud states

    “The feeling of being on stage is indescribable,” said Magnolia Vandiver, of competing in the Poetry Out Loud Northern Maine Finals Feb. 3. “I love the exhilaration that comes from performing.”

         The George Stevens Academy junior is one of five finalists chosen at the regional competition in Hampden to join five from Southern Maine at the state competition.

         “I was once again surprised to win,” she said, after being named a finalist. “There were so many amazing recitations.”

         “I was awed by the humility, graciousness, and skill of the other reciters. … There were people who I was sure would advance who didn’t,” said Vandiver, who sees this as a reflection of the “subjective nature of any arts competition.”

         The other four Northern Maine finalists to join her at state competition are Ella Shaffer of Rangeley Lakes Regional School, Emi Verhar of Hampden Academy, Ogechi Obi of Bangor High School and Hannah Nilsson of John Bapst. The Southern Maine Finals were scheduled for Feb. 10.

         Vandiver recited “Advice to a Prophet,” by Richard Wilbur, and “When I Have Fears that I May Cease To Be,” by John Keats, and “The Greatest Grandeur,” by Pattiann Rogers.

         The Poetry Out Loud State Finals will take place at the Waterville Opera House on Monday, March 2, at 3 P.M. Admission is free and no tickets are required. Poetry lovers, even those who don’t know the competitors, are encouraged to attend, as the level of competition is very high.

         In preparation for state competition, Vandiver said she will “continue to explore my poems, reciting them, reading them over, and pondering them. She also plans to work on her enunciation.

         She’d like to thank Emma Snow, the runner-up at the GSA contest. Snow “came to regionals to watch and cheer,” Vandiver said, “and has been incredibly supportive.”

         The Maine Arts Commission created short video profiles of three of the competitors. To watch Magnolia's profile on YouTube, click here. Visit the Maine Arts Commission Facebook page for a live stream of the state finals.

         The winner of the state competition will represent Maine at the national competition in Washington, D.C., in late April.

         Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation competition organized at the national level by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is administered in Maine by The Maine Arts Commission. Throughout the state, thousands of students participated. According to the commission, the “program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.”


    Magnolia recited her poems beautifully at the state finals in Waterville, but the competition was very strong. She did not advance to the final five, but we are proud of her nonetheless for representing GSA very well two years in a row. We look forward to next year's schoolwide competition!