Dyer Rhoads of Waynflete School won the 2013 State Poetry Out Loud competition Wednesday night in Bangor. Iman Omar from Deering High School was runner up.
Presidential poet Richard Blanco presented signed copies of his inaugural poem to all the finalists of the contest, which is sponsored annually by the Maine Arts Commission. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.
Rhoads will represent Maine at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on April 28-30 in Washington, D.C.
Rhoads recited three poems: “Onions” by William Matthews, “Break of Day” by John Donne and “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Rhoads will receive $200, with a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for his school. He also receives a paid trip to the national final, where he will compete for the national title and $50,000 in cash prizes, including a grand prize of $20,000. All prizes, as well as all materials for running this popular program in high schools across the nation, come from the National Endowment for the Arts and their partner in Poetry Out Loud, the Poetry Foundation.
The competition began in December with 8,000 students competing at the classroom level.
In addition to Rhoads and Omar, other finalists were: Christian E. Heath, Gardiner Area High School; Skyler Samuelson, Merriconeag Waldorf High School; Jai Aslam, Messalonskee High School; Isabelle Fall, Mt. Ararat High School; Abigail Abbott, Rangeley Lakes Regional School; Brianna Housman, Searsport District High School; Morgan Wiggan, Thornton Academy; and Bethanie Brown, Waterville Senior High School.