Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Arts & Culture Council announce that Gabriel Blaikie, a senior at Interlochen Arts Academy, is the 2022 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Gabriel’s teacher at Interlochen is Andrew McGinn.

The first runner-up is Nour Dagher from Star International Academy in Dearborn Heights. The second runner-up is Adeline Frazier from Houghton High School in Houghton. The third runner-up is Audrey Gietzen from Petoskey High School in Petoskey.

The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Nineteen students representing their high schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals on Friday, March 4, in Lansing.

“This year’s event was so impactful. It was incredible to watch the students connect through the workshops and competition. We are so fortunate to have been able to meet in person this year to experience the tremendous work these students put into this program,” said Jennifer Rupp, Acting President and CEO of Michigan Humanities.

Poetry Out Loud starts in a high school classroom or at the local level with an area organization. Winners then advance to the state competition, and ultimately to the national level. For the Michigan State Finals, contestants recited works they memorized from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. Gabriel Blaikie recited “Tomorrow” by Dennis O’Driscoll, “A Thousand Martyrs” by Aphra Behn, and “Windy City” by Stuart Dybek.

Gabriel will compete in the national finals, held virtually in May 2022. Students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa will provide video submissions for the semi-finals competition which will be broadcast on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at arts.gov. The top nine students will move on to the final competition, to be broadcast on Sunday, June 5, again at arts.gov. The Poetry Out Loud national finals will present a total of $50,000 in awards and school/organization stipends, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Michigan’s Poetry Out Loud program is funded through a partnership between Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Arts & Culture Council. Additional support is generously provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Poetry Foundation.