poetry out loud

A Statewide Poetry Recitation Competition

Presented by the Flynn in partnership with the Vermont Arts Council

The Flynn is excited to partner with the Vermont Arts Council to present Poetry Out Loud. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the program provides pathways for students to explore, memorize, and recite great works of poetry. Contestants choose and learn about poems from an extensive online anthology of classical and contemporary poetry while mastering public speaking skills as well as building self confidence. The national Poetry Out Loud recitation competition engages thousands of Vermont high school students every year. 

Participation in Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level around the country. Teachers engage students through instruction in poetry and performance and organize contests involving one or more classes. Winners advance to the state finals, and the state champion advances to the national finals in Washington, D.C. 

The Flynn's education department will be administering the statewide Poetry Out Loud program, working with schools and students through the school year. The Vermont state finals will be held at the Flynn in Flynn Space in March 2023. Questions about Poetry Out Loud? contact education@flynnvt.org.

Congratulations Greer Kennedy

Pictured below (left to right): runner up Anne Hauze, Woodstock Union High School; Vermont Poetry Out Loud champion Greer Kennedy, St. Johnsbury Academy; and third-place finalist Grace Bruley, BFA – St. Albans


The Flynn Main Stage - MARCH 16, 2023

Vermont Poetry Out Loud Semi-Finals

Barre Opera House - March 9, 2023 - Watch on Facebook

Interested in participating and receiving more information?

Additional Resources

Visiting Artists

John Hadden

John Hadden

John Hadden has worked happily in the theater for 50 years. He was a founding member of Shakespeare & Co.; ran Hubbard Hall Theater Company in Cambridge, NY; and directed, acted, wrote, and/or produced over 100 plays here and abroad, in professional and university settings. He has taught in numerous conservatories and schools, and is a Vermont teaching artist. He has received a variety of grants and awards, and holds a BFA (theater arts) from SUNY Purchase, and an MFA (writing) from Goddard College. He has a deep interest in seeing great work happen in small places.

Geof Hewitt

Geof Hewitt

Geof Hewitt writes and performs poems wherever he can find an audience. He has served as a POL coach since the program started, and is happy to meet with individual classes or with larger groups. Geof uses guided, whole-group, cacophonic (!) choral recitations to ensure that everyone in the room has multiple opportunities to rehearse their chosen poems. The noise of multiple voices reciting different poems gives cover for every student to experiment with tone, pacing, facial expression, and gesture. Students are then invited to solo and receive brief suggestions from the group. Geof loves this work, and promises, "I'll make it fun!"

Quinn Rol

Quinn Rol

Born and raised in New Mexico, Quinn worked as an actor in NYC for 7 years, including at the Classic Stage, Signature Theatre Center, and Roundabout. After two years in Burlington, he’s been lucky enough to work with Middlebury Acting Company, Vermont Shakespeare Festival, Spotlight Theatre and Dance Academy, and with Vermont Stage's latest two shows, Women In Jeopardy and The Pitmen Painters.  With the help of BCA he adapted and produced Shakespeare's Much Ado in City Hall Park as a fundraiser for BHS Drama, and with his virtuosic wife, Gina, will be performing their third annual Front Porch Follies for BCA's Highlight NYE! He also specializes in teaching voice work for actors, and is on track to be the only certified Linklater Voice teacher in Vermont. MFA in acting, Columbia University.

Gina Stevensen

Gina Stevensen

Gina Stevensen is an award-winning playwright, performer, and teaching artist with an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and a BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch. Before moving to Burlington, she spent 13 years in New York City, where she taught theater and creative writing at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, The Brooklyn College Community Partnership, Leave Out Violence, The Writer’s Rock, Writopia Lab, and more. She is a 2023 Vermont Arts Council/NEA Creation Grant recipient. Her plays have been developed in NYC, London, and across the country. Since moving to Vermont, she's worked as a performer and dramaturg with Vermont Stage, Middlebury Acting Company, and Vermont Shakespeare Festival, and is the co-creator of the Front Porch Follies.

Judge Bios


Shanta Lee Gander

Shanta Lee Gander is an artist who works in different mediums as a photographer, writer across genres and is a public intellectual whose work has been widely featured. She is the author of GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues (Diode Editions, 2021) and forthcoming collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan Press, 2023). Shanta Lee is a producer and reporter for Vermont Public and regular contributor to the Ms. Magazine Blog, Art New England, and her current multimedia exhibition, Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine, is on view from now until May 20th at the Fleming Museum of Art. Shanta Lee has served as one of the judges for the 2022 Perugia Press Prize.

Susan Evans McClure

Susan Evans McClure is the Executive Director of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She leads the talented team of educators, curators, museum professionals, and archaeologists as they connect people to our region’s past to build a stronger future for our communities. Previously, Susan was Director of Programs and Audience Development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where she led a team responsible for inspiring national conversations on the importance of the arts and humanities to civic life. Susan holds an Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Theater and History from McGill University. Her research focuses on the field of public history, connecting people with the past in ways that are relevant to their lives today outside of the walls of the classroom.

Sarah Audsley

Sarah Audsley is the author of Landlock X (Texas Review Press, 2023). A Korean American adoptee raised in rural Vermont, she has received support from The Rona Jaffe Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Banff Centre’s Writing Studio, and the Vermont Arts Council. Her work has appeared in New England Review, The Cortland Review, Four Way Review, The Massachusetts Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Pleiades, and elsewhere. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a member of The Starlings Collective, Audsley lives and works in Johnson, VT where she serves as the Writing Program Manager at Vermont Studio Center.

Morgan Irons

A native Vermonter who grew up hearing her mother quote poetry as commentary on any situation from a rainy day to a moral dilemma, Morgan earned her first money by memorizing poetry herself, for which her parents paid her a penny a line. Years later, not surprisingly, she was reciting poetry on stage and leading “Poetry Performance” workshops in elementary schools and public libraries. All of which led, in 2005, to her launching Vermont’s Poetry Out Loud program for the Vermont Arts Council. She served several years as the State Coordinator, conducted teacher training workshops and wrote a guide for the national website. As a POL Visiting Artist Morgan has coached students in high schools throughout the state, and also led POL programs in Vermont correctional facilities.

Dana Kaplan

As the Executive Director of Outright Vermont, Dana is responsible for overseeing the organization’s strategic direction and inspiring Outright’s staff, partners and supporters to take meaningful action in support of our mission. Dana keeps his eyes on the horizon and his hands on the wheel, ensuring that Outright is queer, steady, and always advancing towards a Vermont where all LGBTQ+ youth have Hope, Equity, and Power! Dana’s graduate degree in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies shaped him into the relationship-builder he is today. In his free time, Dana enjoys playing music with his indie-pop band and getting sassed by his two kids.

Semi-Finals at Barre Opera House on March 9

Meg Reynolds

Meg Reynolds is a poet, artist, and teacher from New England. An instructor in writing and humanities at Vermont Adult Learning in Burlington, her work has been published in many literary journals including Mid-American Review, RHINO, The Offing, Iterant, amongst others and is forthcoming from Prarie Schooner. A graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program, her poetry and comic work has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and once for Best the Net. Her first collection of poetry comics, A Comic Year, was published in October 2021 from Finishing Line Press. Her second collection, Does the Earth, is forthcoming in April 2023 from Harpoon Review Books.

Joy Worland

Joy has been a Library Consultant with the Vermont Department of Libraries since 2018. She is the former library director at the Waitsfield and Montpelier public libraries, a former Vermont Library Association President, and has been a member of American Library Association book selection and award committees. She is also a Grammy-winning French horn player, and has played with the Mexico City, Nashville and Vermont symphonies, Opera North, and the Craftsbury Chamber Players.

Jane Knight

Jane has worked at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, VT since 1994. She has been the store’s children’s book buyer since 2006. She has also served as an ESL teacher and a tutor with Central Vermont Adult Basic Education. She is on the Board of Advisors for Children's Literacy Foundation, and is a life-long advocate for literacy and storytelling as change agents.

Sarah Madru

Sarah Madru (she/her) is the Institutional Advancement Manager at VCFA. She first joined VCFA in 2011 and spent many years with the MFA in Music Composition program and the Admissions department before transitioning to work with Alumnx Affairs, Development, and Community Engagement efforts at the college. Prior to that, she worked at the Green Mountain Youth Symphony, the League of American Orchestras, and the Brooklyn Music School. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Vassar College and an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. Sarah lives in Montpelier with her two children, Helen and Jules, two cats, and a dog named Saffron.

Cory McCarthy

Cory McCarthy is the author of ten books for young readers. He studied poetry and screenwriting before earning an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at VCFA, where he now teaches. Cory recently published the Stonewall Honor-winning Man o' War, as well as Hope is An Arrow, a picture book about fellow Lebanese American, Kahlil Gibran.

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