• Magnolia Vandiver POL

    Magnolia Vandiver ’21 competes in the Poetry Out Loud regional finals at Hampden Academy.

    Vandiver advances to state poetry competition

    And then there were five.

         Magnolia Vandiver ’21 of George Stevens Academy is one of five finalists chosen at the Poetry Out Loud Northern Maine Regional Finals in Hampden to join five Southern Maine finalists at the state competition at the Waterville Opera House on Monday, March 11, at 3 P.M.

         “It feels a little odd,” Magnolia said of being named a finalist. “I didn’t really come with the expectation that I was going to place at all.”

         Magnolia recited “The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus, the poem cast in bronze for display at the Statue of Liberty, and “Author’s Prayer,” by Ilya Kaminsky, in the first two rounds of recitation. The judges then selected 11 competitors to compete in the third round, in which Vandiver recited “Difference,” by Stephen Vincent Benet. The five finalists then were selected.

         “I was blown away by the other recitations completely,” Magnolia said, who will be joined at the state competition by Hanna Lavenson of Messalonskee High School, Emily Campbell of Waterville High School, Emma Jacot-Descombes of Rangeley Lakes Regional High School and Shaphnah McKenzie of Bangor High School.

         The Poetry Out Loud State Finals will take place at the Waterville Opera House on Monday, March 11, 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.

         The winner of the state competition will represent Maine at the national competition in Washington, D.C., in mid-spring.

         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, 4,300 students participated. According to the commission, the “program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.”

    STATE COMPETITION UPDATE: Magnolia was the only one of the five Northern Regional competitors at the state Poetry Out Loud competition to be named a finalist and advance to the third round of recitiation, quite an accomplishment for a sophomore. The competition was recorded and recently could still be viewed on the Facebook page of the Boothbay Region Media Center & TV Station Ch 1301. The Maine Arts Commission also is expected to post video on their website.