Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Arts & Culture Council (formerly Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs) announce the 2022 State Finals for Poetry Out Loud. 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 poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. On March 4, 2022, nineteen high school students from communities across Michigan will compete at the Crowne Plaza in Lansing at the Poetry Out Loud State Finals.

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. During the Michigan State Finals, contestants will recite works they memorized from an anthology of more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation provide free, standards-based curriculum materials—all available online—which teachers may use in their classrooms. These include a poetry anthology of poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

“Poetry Out Loud is a wonderful way to connect Michigan’s youth with the arts and humanities. We always enjoy seeing the students showcase their hard work and talent and represent their communities.” said Jennifer Rupp, Acting President and CEO for Michigan Humanities.

During Michigan’s State Finals competition, five judges will assess the students’ recitations based on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy. The 2022 Michigan Poetry Out Loud judging panel includes:

  • Amorak Huey, poet and Professor at Grand Valley State University
  • Marcel “Fable” Price, writer and Executive Director of The Diatribe
  • Anita Skeen, poet and Professor Emerita in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University
  • Masaki Takahashi, spoken word artist and founder/host of The Poetry Room Open Mic
  • Chad Swan-Badgero, Arts Education Program Manager for the Michigan Arts and Culture Council

The Michigan State Champion receives a $1,000 cash award and will compete in the national finals, held virtually in May 2022, where a total of $50,000 in awards and school/organization stipends, including a $20,000 award, for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, will be presented. Michigan’s Poetry Out Loud program is funded through a partnership between Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Arts & Cultural Council. Additional support is generously provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Poetry Foundation.

2022 Poetry Out Loud School Champions

James Hogg Detroit Catholic Central
Gabriel Blaikie Interlochen Arts Academy
Henry Trombley Northwest Education Services Career Tech
Jonathan Kwon St. Joseph High School
Madylin Wieman St. Michael Academy
Jaeden Paul Detroit School of Arts
Audrey Gietzen Petoskey High School
Erica Linn Allen Park High School
Adeline Frazier Houghton High School
Colbert Bankhead Jr. Muskegon Community Education Center
Roger Hernandez Black River Public School
Jacob Bissonette Kensington Woods Schools
Nora Keast Roosevelt High School, Wyandotte
Nora Kalvans Riverview Community High School
Aurora Maggard Melvindale High School
Naomi Griffin Marquette Senior High School
Violet Snider Manistee Catholic Central
Ashley Wiggins Calvary Baptist Academy
Nour Dagher Star International Academy