Another Maine Asylum Seeker Aims To Impress With Poetry

May 1, 2019

For the second consecutive year, an asylum seeker from Maine has made it to the final round of a national spoken poetry competition.

The road to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals Wednesday night was less bumpy for 18-year-old Joao Victor than for his predecessor. Last year, Deering High School junior Allan Monga of Portland had to sue as a noncitizen to participate in the event hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Sun Journal newspaper reports that Victor came to the U.S. three years ago from Angola and speaks seven languages. He's also fluent in the language of poetry.

Victor said he was inspired by Monga, who fled Zambia. Monga recited Lord Byron's poem, "She Walks in Beauty." He made the finals but did not win.