Experiential Learning

Poetry Out Loud at Holderness

At Holderness, students participate annually in the national poetry recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud. Students study poetry in their English classes, select poems they appreciate and love, and commit them to memory. Then they recite their poem for their classmates. 1-2 students are selected from each English class to move on to the semi-final round of the competition. 8 students are then selected to participate in our campus finals. In classrooms, our Chapel, and, finally, in Hagerman Hall, Holderness students bring to life the works of poets including Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Nick Flynn, Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton, and many more.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, which encourages high school students to learn poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking, hone their listening abilities, build self-confidence, and appreciate poetry through performance. After our school-wide rounds, the selected Holderness student moves on to a regional and/or state competitions, and ultimately to the national finals.

Along the way, students are coached by their English teachers and other educators in the community who offer support as these students also learn the art of interpreting literature through performance.

Congratulations to Our 2018 Finalists!

  • Yarmony Bellows ‘19 (Winner): “On Monsieur's Departure” by Queen Elizabeth I and "Hunger Moon” by Jane Coope
  • Buzby Fisher ‘19: “Testimonial” by Dove and “Finale” by Neruda
  • Meg Gillis ‘19: Love Song” by Parker and “Numbers” by Cornish
  • Nick Grammas ‘18: "Brian Age Seven" by Doty and “Quite Frankly” by Mark Halliday
  • Chip Peterson ‘21: "Hunger for Something" by Twichell and “First Storm and Thereafter” by Cairns
  • Cate Pollini ‘19: "The Universe as Primal Scream" by Smith and “Portrait d'une Femme” by Pound
  • Eleni Spiliotes ‘20 (Winner): "Aria" by Barber and “I Go Back to May 1937” by Olds
  • Lexie von der Luft ‘19: "On Quitting" by Guest and “Writing" by Nemerov
  • 2017 Finalists

      • Bee McLaughlin: every single day by John Strahly and Waving Goodbye by Gerald Stern
      • Cate Pollini: Immortal Sails by Alfred Noyes and Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney
      • Mina Nguyen: And Soul by Eavan Boland and Discrimination by Kenneth Rexroth
      • Perry Lum (Runner-up): Prayer by Jorie Graham and The Obligation to Be Happy by Linda Pastan
      • Cat McLaughlin: Happiness by Jane Kenyon and Chorus Sacerdotum by Baron Brooke Fulke Greville
      • Ben Tessier: Enough by Suzanne Buffam and Mothers by Nikki Giovanni
      • Grace Mumford: Part for the Whole by Robert Francis and Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy by Thomas Lux
      • Eleni Spiliotes (Winner): Insomnia by Dana Gioia and Broken Promises by David Kirby
  • 2016 Finalists

      • Maggie Barton: Larkinesque by Michael Ryan and Backdrop addresses cowboy by Margaret Atwood
      • Noa Lin: Memory as a Hearing Aid by Tony Hoagland and Eating Together by Li-Young Lee
      • Perry Lum: Dressing My Daughters by Mark Jarman and Magnitudes by Howard Nemerov
      • Darielle Matthews (Runner-Up) performing The Mothering Blackness by Maya Angelou and a song in the front yard by Gwendolyn Brooks
      • Cate Pollini (Winner) performing Under the Vulture-Tree by David Bottoms and Ice by Gail Mazur
      • Nate Sampo: Torcello by Catherine Sasanov and Bones and Shadows John Philip Johnson
      • Chris Sargent: Across the Bay by Donald Davie and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
      • Jullia Tran: When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer by Walt Whitman and Personal by Tony Hoagland
  • 2015 Finalists

      • Emma AbramsTo David, About His Education by Howard Nemerov and Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden
      • Charlotte FrecciaNovel by Arthur Rimbaud and Celebration for June 24 by Thomas McGrath
      • Charles HarkerI Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman and The Farmer by W.D. Ehrhart
      • Perry LumEagle Poem by Joy Harjo and Happiness by Jane Kenyon
      • Bee McLaughlinSnow Day by Billy Collins and Tamer and Hawk by Thom Gunn
      • Cat McLaughlinThe Campus on the Hill by W.C. Snodgrass and Father by Edgar Albert Guest
      • Liam O’ReillyFootball by Louis Jenkins and I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain by Emily Dickenson
      • Leah ScaraliaDegrees of Gray in Philipsburg by Richard Hugo and Break of Day by John Donne

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Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245

MAIL P.O. Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
PHONE (603) 536-1257