Upcoming Poetry Out Loud Events

For Poetry Out Loud Inquiries

Estee Schlenner
Programs and Communications Coordinator

eschlenner “at” mihumanities.org
or call 517-372-7770

Help Support Michigan Humanities

Current and Past Champions

Photo of Madison Ganzak

Madison Ganzak, 2021 State Champion Credit: Jennifer Deckert Photography

Madison Ganzak, a senior at Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, is the 2021 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Madison’s Poetry Out Loud teachers at Roosevelt High School are Rob Keast and Warren Baker.

The first runner-up is Elaiyna Schwartzkopf, from Calvary Baptist Academy in Midland. The second runner-up is Tyler Zolynsky, from Riverview Community High School in Riverview. The third runner-up is Catelyn Danckaert, from Black River Public School in Holland.

In May, 2021, Ganzak will represent Michigan at the virtual National Finals for Poetry Out Loud.

Read the full press release from the 2021 Poetry Out Loud State Finals here.


Michigan Poetry Out Loud Champions

  • 2021: Madison Ganzak, Roosevelt High School, Wyandotte
  • 2020: See below
  • 2019: Tajah-Rayne Davise, Calumet High School, Calumet
  • 2018: Grace Garver, Petoskey High School, Petoskey
  • 2017: MaryKate Wright, Owosso High School, Owosso
  • 2016: Lyndon DeFoe, University high School Academy, Southfield
  • 2015: Coral Brantly, Petoskey High School
  • 2014: Matthew Webb, Cass Technical High School, Detroit
  • 2013: Richard Wu, Forest Hills Central High School, Grand Rapids
  • 2012: Randi Laundre, Alba High School, Alba
  • 2011: Harron Atkins, Cass Technical High School, Detroit
  • 2010: Lauren Treiber, Forest Hills Central High School, Grand Rapids
  • 2009: Daniel Bellomy, Cass Technical High School, Detroit
  • 2008: Charles White, Forest Hills Central High School, Grand Rapids
  • 2007: Sarah Harris, Holt High School
  • 2006: Travis Walter, Holt High School


2019-20 State Finals:

The 2020 Poetry Out Loud State Finals were scheduled for March 13 and 14 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West (925 S. Creyts Rd., Lansing 48917), but have been moved to a virtual platform in light of COVID-19 impacts in Michigan. In April, students and teachers attended online workshops with Michigan poets and teachers. Students submitted recorded recitations, took part in an essay contest, and contributed to a video compilation. Below, you can find the names of the 2019-20 contest winners.


For our inaugural Poetry Out Loud essay contest, students reflected on the following questions: How has participating in the Poetry Out Loud program personally impacted you, your relationship to poetry, and your understanding of the poems you selected? This year’s winners are:
First Place ($1,000): Roxy Sprowl, Grade 12 at Marquette Senior High School
Teachers: Tanya Sprowl & Eric Hammerstrom
Second Place ($500): Xavier Hernandez, Grade 12 at Melvindale High School
Teacher: Michelle Meschke
Third Place ($200): Soja Kureekkattil, Grade 11 at Rochester High School
Teacher: Ashley Painter
Fourth Place ($100): Mahbuba Sumiya, Grade 11 at Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine
Teacher: Shannon Waite

Video recitations

These four students had the highest total scores after judges reviewed and scored their three video recitations. This year’s winners, presented in alphabetical order, are:
Elizabeth Ajaero, Grade 12 at University High School Academy
Teacher: Torrie Maas
Adeline Frazier, Grade 9 at Houghton High School
Teacher: Julie Antilla
Soja Kureekkattil, Grade 11 at Rochester High School
Teacher: Ashley Painter
Lizzy Shetler, Grade 11 at Traverse Bay Area Career-Tech Center
Teacher: Teresa Scollon

POL art contest winner



In spring, 2020, all Poetry Out Loud students were invited to share artwork that represented the power of poetry and how it speaks to them. This year’s winner and creator of the beautiful artwork displayed here is:
Annie Vokes, Grade 12 at Yale High School
Teachers: Alissa Nicol (Art) and Maria Gerardy (ELA)