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Poetry Out Loud 2023 State Finals

Welcome to the 2023 Poetry Out Loud State Finals!

Thank you for joining us in Indianapolis for a celebration of Hoosier students. Make sure to check out today's itinerary, so you're ready for all of the fun things we have in store. Below you will find a list of the judges and contestants of today's event, as well as information on the winners of the Poetry Ourselves contest.

2023 Poetry Out Loud Indiana State Finalists

Serenity Akers HeadhsotSerenity Akers

Freshman, Indiana Digital Learning School 

Serenity's favorite hobbies include reading, writing, and sleeping. She also loves doing show choir, musicals, and plays. Shout out to 78 Edition.

Aalihya Banks HeadshotAalihya Banks

Junior, Pike High School 

This is Aalihya's second year participating in Poetry Out Loud. She enjoys theatre & photography. Aalihya loves that poetry brings a deeper meaning to simple things.

Chloe Duncan's HeadshotChloe Duncan

Junior, Ivy Tech Early College High School

This is Chloe's first year participating in Poetry Out Loud. Chloe enjoys sports, reading, and hopes to own her own business one day. Chloe believes that poetry can perfectly romanticize the human experience.

Chloe’s Second Round Recitation - “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost  (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Charlotte Griffith's HeadshotCharlotte Griffith

Junior, Clay High School

This is Charlotte's first year participating in Poetry Out Loud. She loves history, old music, and drawing cartoons.

Charlotte’s First Round Recitation - “I Felt a Funeral – In My Brain” by Emily Dickinson (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Charlotte’s Second Round Recitation - “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Headshot of Minh Huynh

Minh Huynh

Freshman, Bloomington High School South

Minh is participating in the Poetry Out Loud Competition for the first time. She plays violin and is in her school's Academic Superbowl. She hopes that competing in the competition will improve her public speaking skills.

Minh’s Second Round Recitation - “Hedgehog” by Paul Muldoon (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Matilde Ibarra's HeadshotMatilde Ibarra

Senior, Monroe Central Jr./Sr. High School

This is Matilde's third year participating in poetry out loud. He loves reading, video games, and his friends.

Matilde’s Second Round Recitation - “I Felt a Funeral – In My Brain” by Emily Dickinson (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Shelby Lloyd's headshotShelby Lloyd

Senior, West Washington Jr./Sr. High School

This is Shelby's first year participating in Poetry Out Loud. She loves her pet shih tzu, GusGus, and her hamster, Ash, and she hopes to be a Veterinary Assistant.

Corbin Malchow's Headshot

Corbin Malchow

Sophomore, Delta High School

Corbin participates in Student Council, Spanish Club, Speech & Debate, Freshman Mentors, Riley Dance Marathon, Chick fli a leadership, Theatre, football, and basketball. Corbin hopes to work in politics when he grows up.

Corbin’s First Round Recitation - 1st Vote by Kamilah Aisha Moon (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Austin Menefee's HeadshotAustin Menefee

Sophomore, Columbus Signature Academy New Tech Campus

This is Austin's first year participating in Poetry Out Loud. He is a member of the track team at Columbus East, a member of the Nursing and Biomed C4 pathways at Columbus East, as well as a member of the HOSA and Environmental Clubs after school. He hopes one day to go into the medical field. He got
into poetry as a part of a school project, and in it he found a deep passion for poetry and performance.

Austin’s Second Round Recitation - “Ways of Talking” by Ha Jin (The streaming rights are not available for this poem.)

Allison Mullet's headshotAllison Mullett

Freshman, Eagle Tech Academy at Columbia City High School

Allison is active in show choir, cross country, theater, track, and youth group at her church. She loves art, poetry, and performing and is excited to be able to have this opportunity.

Sreepadaarchana Munjuluri's HeadshotSreepadaarchana Munjuluri

Junior, Columbus North High School

This is Sreepada's second year participating in Poetry Out Loud. Sreepada loves exploring literature not just in English but also in her native language Telugu, and Sanskrit. In her free time, she plays the violin and practices the Bharatanatyam dance. In the future, she hopes to be a global health advocate and believes that communication through various mediums (such as poetry) is the key to solving the world's problems, and is the most beautiful aspect of the human experience.

Eliana Ortega's headshotEliana Ortega

Junior, Jasper High School

This is Eliana's first time participating in Poetry Out Loud. Eliana loves playing music, reading, and her cats. Eliana believes that words can open people to new worlds and ideas.

Gaia Splendore's HeadshotGaia Splendore

Senior, Homestead High School

Gaia, a senior who is participating in Poetry Out Loud for her second year, thinks that the best things in life start with a C: cats, creative writing, and caramel. With a goal to study English in college, Gaia has a passion for literature.

Lukka Sumner's HeadshotLukka Sumner 

Franklin Central High School

Lukka Sumner chose to enter this competition because it's a part of his career aspirations.

Poetry Out Loud Indiana State Finals Judges

Azizi Arrington-Slocum headshot

Azizi Arrington-Slocum

Azizi Arrington-Slocum is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Built Environment at Indiana State University (ISU). Before joining ISU in 2011, she served as a project manager at Johnson Peterson Architects in Florida. Professor Azizi is a licensed architect, registered interior designer, and a proud two-time alum of Florida A&M University, where she studied architecture. Her research explores the relationships between architecture and the arts, posing the question, can one art inform the other? Professor Azizi was recently appointed to the Indiana Arts Commission. As a first gen from Cleveland, Ohio, her goal is to encourage others to be creative, push through trials, and achieve success even when the odds are against you

Mitchell L. H. DouglasMitchell L. H. Douglas

Poet and visual artist Mitchell L. H. Douglas is the author of dying in the scarecrow’s arms, \blak\ \al-fÉ™ bet\, winner of the Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor's Choice Award, and Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, an NAACP Image Award and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominee. He is a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, a cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets, and Associate Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Samantha Fain HeadshotSamantha Fain

Samantha Fain is a writer from Indiana. Her chapbooks “Coughing Up Planets” and “sad horse music” debuted with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press and The Daily Drunk in 2021. Her work has appeared in The Indianapolis Review, SWWIM, Peach Mag, and others. Find her at

Matthew Graham HeadshotMatthew Graham

Matthew Graham is the author of four collections of poetry and is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Pushcart, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Vermont Studio Center. Graham is a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Southern Indiana and is the current Indiana State Poet Laureate. He is married to the painter Katie Waters.

Januarie York HeadshotJanuarie York

Januarie York is a freelance writer, published author & poet who was recently named the Center for Black Literature and Culture's first Poet Laureate. In addition to performing original works of poetry, she has produced several of her own spoken word theatrical shows that focus on uplifting and inspiring women. She has an MBA in Positive Psychology and a BS in Criminal Justice.

Accuracy Judge

Brittany Kropf HeadshotBrittany Kropf 

An Oregon native, Brittany Kropf moved to Indianapolis in 2011 for the dual degree program at IUPUI, graduating with a Master of Arts in Public History and a Master of Library Science from Indiana University in 2014. In 2015, she accepted the position of Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian at the Indiana State Library where she has worked ever since. Experienced in digital collections, she assisted former Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka (2018-2019) in the creation of the INverse, Indiana’s digital poetry archive, and continues to support the project by administering its digital and physical collections at the library and serving on the review committee annually.

2023 Indiana Poetry Ourselves Written Category
2nd  Runner Up

Cory David

Sophomore, West Lafayette Junior Senior High School

"I Am America's Child"

Read Cory's Poem.

1st Runner Up

Kate Jones

Senior, Herron High School

"Soon I'm Going to Leave You"

Read Kate's Poem.

State Champion

Katelyn Saul

Senior, Northwestern High School

"Dear Joseph"

Read Katelyn's Poem.

2023 Indiana Poetry Ourselves Spoken Category
2nd  Runner Up

Abigail Paul

Senior, Indiana Digital Learning School

"My Last Night"

1st Runner Up

Hailie Woodring

Sophomore, Delta High School

"A Cursed Jumble of Thoughts"

State Champion

Ashton Crosley

Freshman, Bloomington High School South

"Flawlessness is Fatal"

A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies, 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 to high schools across the country.

Logos for NEA, POL, Poetry Foundation, and IAC