Indian Creek High School freshman wins Maryland “Poetry Out Loud” competition

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Madison Harris, a freshman at Indian Creek High School, recites “Stomp” by Nikki Grimes at the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland state finals competition at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore March 18.

Madison Harris, a ninth-grade student from Indian Creek High School in Crownsville, was selected as the Poetry Out Loud Maryland state champion March 18 during the state finals competition at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore.

Harris out-performed nine finalists who were selected from 25 Maryland students representing eight counties that competed in the statewide competition.


Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country, according to their website.

The program 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 Poetry Out Loud website, analyze and memorize them, and present the poems at their school competitions.


In February, each school winner moves on to regionals. At the state finals competition in March, the participants are evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

Harris 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 as her three poems during the duration of the competition.

“Poetry holds a special power as an expressive art form,” Maryland State Arts Council executive director Steven Skerritt-Davis said in a statement. “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.”

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.

Harris will move on to the National finals in Washington D.C. in May.

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.

Harris’s recitation of “Stomp” by Nikki Grimes can be viewed on Youtube.