LANSING— Matthew Webb of Cass Technical High School in Detroit, was named the 2014 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Champion after a day-long recitation competition at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center on March 14.

FinalistsWebb took top honors among 35 student competitors, reciting “The Empty Dance Shoes” by Cornelius Eady in his final round. First runner-up was Cal Kreiner of Wellspring Preparatory High School (Grand Rapids), second runner-up was James McConnell of Petoskey High School, and third runner-up was Ejiro Enajero of Detroit School of Arts.

“A big congratulations to all 35 students who participated in the state competition,” said Judith Dworkin, Michigan Humanities program officer. “We heard amazing recitations and each student showed how hard they had worked to get to this point. It was an exciting day and we look forward to watching Matthew represent Michigan at the national competition this April.”

As the state champion, Webb received a $200 cash award, $500 stipend for his school and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Michigan at the National Poetry Out Loud competition April 29-30. The national competition will be live-streamed at Kreiner, as runner-up, received a $100 cash award and $200 for his school.

Poetry Out Loud, a national high school recitation competition, encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, while also mastering public speaking skills, building self-confidence and learning about literary heritage. The program has engaged more than 70,000 students since the Michigan Humanities and Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs began hosting it in 2005.

The program is open to all high schools, including home-school groups. Registration for the next program will open this fall. If teachers or parents would like to learn more about this program, please visit or contact Judith Dworkin at 517.372.77720 or

About the Michigan Humanities

The Michigan Humanities is a private, nonprofit organization created to foster a better understanding of each other and our state through local cultural, historical and literary experiences for all. The Council was founded in 1974 and is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and individual donors. For more information on future programs, upcoming grant opportunities or how you can support these efforts, please visit or call (517) 372-7770.