MSAC Announces "Poetry Out Loud" State Winner

Madison Harris, performing at Poetry Out Loud Maryland state competition
Madison Harris, performing at 2024 POL state competition.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — Madison Harris, a tenth-grade student from Indian Creek High School in Anne Arundel County, has been selected as the Poetry Out Loud (POL) Maryland state champion for the second consecutive year. Madison was among nine finalists who competed in the statewide competition at the Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore City on Saturday, March 16. POL is administered through Maryland State Arts Council’s Arts in Education program. 

During the competition, Madison recited “Nothing To Do” by James Ephraim McGirt; “Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde (video available here); and “Black Matters” by Keith S. Wilson. Madison, who placed 3rd nationally last year, will advance to the 2024 POL National Finals in Washington, DC, from April 30 to May 2, where she will compete among other state finalists for the title of POL national champion.

“The power of this program is truly incredible,” said MSAC Executive Director Steven Skerritt-Davis. “As students examine and interpret great works of poetry through their own lens, we see their confidence and abilities to express their own viewpoints grow, and their interpretations often give those around them new insights, too. Congratulations to Madison and all of the competitors!” 

Second place was awarded to Madilyn Tribbitt from Oakdale High School in Frederick County, and third place went to Abisola Asante from River Hill High School in Howard County. The other finalists included Elaine Casey from Gerstell Academy (Carroll), Fiona Guo from Pocomoke High School (Worcester), Jay Henry from Wilde Lake High School (Howard), Imari Owens from Gerstell Academy (Carroll), Ana Pantoja Alfaro from Brookewood School (Montgomery), and Yasmin Roach from Wilde Lake High School (Howard). 

The Maryland state champion receives $1,200 in combined prize funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and MSAC. The winner’s school also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up receives $600 in combined prize funds and $200 for their school. At the National Finals, POL provides a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, with $20,000 given to the national champion. 

POL is co-sponsored by the NEA and The Poetry Foundation. This year’s Maryland state competition was produced by DewMore Baltimore.

To read the full press release, click here