Madison Harris from Indian Creek School Wins Poetry Out Loud Competition

Madison Harris from Indian Creek School


Madison Harris, a ninth grade student from Indian Creek High School in Anne Arundel County, was selected as the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland state champion. The state finals competition was held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore. Madison was among nine finalists who were selected from 25 Maryland students representing eight counties that competed statewide. The POL poetry recitation contest is co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, and administered by U.S. state arts agencies and regional organizations across the country. This year, the Maryland POL competition was produced by DewMore Baltimore in collaboration with the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC).

Poems Recited

During the competition hosted by artist Victor Rodgers, AKA Slangston Hughes, Madison recited “Stomp” by Nikki Grimes; “No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved” by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib; and “Nocturne” by Louise Glück.

Second place was awarded to Treston Melvin from Pocomoke High School in Worcester County, and third place went to Yasmin Roach from Wilde Lake High School in Howard County. The six remaining finalists were Chloe Choi (Montgomery), Fiona Guo (Worcester), Imari Owens (Carroll), Brennen Peroutka (Baltimore), Abigail Rakow (Montgomery), and Renee Si-ting Wu (Howard).

Participation in Poetry Out Loud

Participation in POL offers students the opportunity to learn about their literary heritage, build self-confidence, and improve their public speaking skills. The process begins in the fall when participating students select three eligible poems from the POL website, analyze and memorize them, and present the poems at their school competitions. In February, each school winner moves on to regionals and, in March, at the state finals competition, the participants are evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

Prior to the Regional and State Competitions, all students had the opportunity to participate in coaching sessions with a Poetry Coach. Catrice Greer, Erica Miller, Cayla Turner (2018 POL State Champion), and Victor Rodgers served as Poetry Coaches for the 2023 Poetry Out Loud program.

“Poetry holds a special power as an expressive art form,” said MSAC Executive Director Steven Skerritt-Davis. “Though often personal to the writer, the meaning and importance of the work can be filtered through our own experience and find new life across communities and generations. The students who competed in the 2023 POL program brought their selected poems to life during this year’s competition with fierce focus and passionate performance. Congratulations to Madison and all of the competitors!”

Poetry Out Loud Champion

The Maryland state champion receives $1,200 in combined NEA and MSAC prize funds. The Maryland winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up receives $600 in combined NEA and MSAC prize funds, with $200 for their school library. At the National Finals, Poetry Out Loud awards a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, with $20,000 awarded to the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Click here to view a video of the 2023 Maryland State competition winner.