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Guest Artists

Poetry Out Loud Guest Artists

The Vermont Arts Council is pleased to provide guest artist visits free of charge for schools participating in Poetry Out Loud. These visits can help inspire students to take positive risks and move your POL program to the next level. We do ask that you collaborate with the guest artist to make the visit as successful as possible and fill out an evaluation form once the visit has been completed. To request a visit, contact one of the artists below via email and send a copy of that email to Troy Hickman.

Andy Butterfield (Burlington) approaches recitation by claiming poetic authenticity and cyphering a poet’s unique punctuation code. He has an MFA in acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where he was fortunate to learn from and perform with some of the top theatrical talents in the world. Andy has instructed voice, speech and Middendorf Breath Technique at the A.C.T. Young Conservatory, served as guest lecturer at St. Mary’s College and written the theater arts curriculum for Zane State College. His acting resume includes work on network television, a Los Angeles Ovation Award Nomination, and sharing the stage with Academy-, Emmy-, and Tony-Award winning talent. Andy is also an endurance athlete. It is not uncommon to find him grinding out the last few miles of a multi-sport training session by the time most people are pouring their first cup of morning coffee.


2012 photo by Mark KitaokaJohn Hadden (Londonderry) is a theater-maker and author. His experience in schools ranges from supporting students of all ages with Shakespeare productions and presentations of W.E.B. Dubois’s writings to techniques for giving a simple public presentation. John was a founding member of Shakespeare & Co., an artistic director of the Hubbard Hall Theater Company, an associate artist with We Players in San Francisco, and the artistic director and co-founder of Counterpoint Theater in Boston. He has worked locally with numerous performing arts organizations and theater companies including Oldcastle Theatre Company, the New England Youth Theatre, Main Street Arts, Town Hall Theater, and Weston Playhouse. John is especially interested in supporting students in southern Vermont schools.

Geof Hewitt (Calais), a juried teaching artist with the Vermont Arts Council, has been writing poems since he was a teenager in the early 1960s, and has published three books of his own poems and three books on strategies for teaching writing. In recent years, he has become an active participant in poetry slams (he's Vermont's reigning slam champion), which are light-hearted poetry recitation competitions where judges are chosen at random from the audience. In his work with Poetry Out Loud, Geof encourages students to discover the poem as they are reciting it, in essence channeling the moment the poem's lines first came to the writer's head.

Morgan Irons (Calais) has been part of Vermont's Poetry Out Loud program from the start, serving as state coordinator for several years. She is also an Arts Council juried teaching artist, and an actor and director who has led poetry performance residencies and workshops in schools, libraries, and at professional conferences throughout the state. For Morgan, the excitement of Poetry Out Loud comes when students connect in a new way with the poems they have learned by heart—a process which leads to ever-deeper understanding—and witnessing the ways reciting for an audience builds self-confidence and emotional awareness. Morgan also delights in the emergence of unexpected stars—those students who suddenly discover in themselves a hidden talent for performing.