Block Island student in state poetry finals

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 9:15am

Block Island School student Maya Veldman-Wilson will be competing with 15 other high school students in the state poetry finals. Veldman-Wilson will compete in the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest at the James P. Metcalf Auditorium, at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum on Sunday, March 4 at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Contestants will recite works from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. The winner of the state finals will receive $200, and the winner’s school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C. on April 24 and 25 for the $20,000 top prize.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Veldman-Wilson, who is a junior, and won the school’s competition in January to advance to the state finals. 

Veldman-Wilson said she will enjoy meeting the other students competing in the state finals, but is realistic about advancing to the national finals. 

“The other kids are super-qualified,” she said, and noted that she will be reciting three poems during the competition: “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaugnessy, and “Acquainted With the Night” and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

The Poetry Out Loud competition is presented in partnership between the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, VSA Arts of Rhode Island, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

A press release issued by the State Council on the Arts said the competition “is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.”

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts ( is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts. 

The Poetry Foundation ( is an independent literary organization and publisher of Poetry magazine.