Statewide 2022 Poetry Out Loud winner announced

MONTPELIER, VT—Gianna Morin, a student at South Burlington High School, took top honors at the Poetry Out Loud State Finals, at the Barre Opera House on March 14.

Mary Bosco, a student at Thetford Academy, was the runner up.

Students recited their chosen poems in rounds one and two. The five students with the highest cumulative scores after the first two rounds continued to round three, reciting their last poem.

Morin recited William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?; Victoria Chang’s Mr. Darcy; and Nikki Grimes’ Stomp.

Bosco recited Meg Day’s Portrait of My Gender as [Inaudible]; Ann Taylor and Jane Taylor’s The Star; and Joy Harjo’s Perhaps the World Ends.

Nineteen schools across Vermont registered to bring the national Poetry Out Loud program to their classrooms in 2022, reaching more than 2,500 students. Nineteen students were selected by their teachers as school champions and advanced to participate in the statewide competition, which was emceed by spoken word poet Rajni Evans.

Participants with the five highest cumulative scores were recognized. After Marin and Bosco, the next highest scorers were Elio Haag of Bellows Free Academy – St Albans; Lily Hutcheson of Burr and Burton Academy; and Sam Leggett of Woodstock Union High School Middle School.

Poetry recitations were evaluated by the judges, using these criteria: physical presence, voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, dramatic appropriateness, accuracy, and overall performance.

All 2022 judges are distinguished poets and performers. They are Sarah Audsley, poet; Susan Haefner, actor and teaching artist; John Hadden, actor and teaching artist; and Vera Escaja Heiss, former Vermont Poetry Out Loud champion.

State champion Marin receives $200 and advances to the national finals where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. The state champion’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. First runner-up Bosco receives $100, with $200 for her school from her.

The 2022 National Semifinals will take place on Sunday, May 1, with the top nine semi-finalists advancing to the National Finals on June 5. Both the semifinals and finals will stream live at

Also announced today as a part of Poetry Out Loud, the Vermont Arts Council partnered with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center’s Scholastic Writing Awards program to hold the Original Poetry Awards. This year, three poems from three students are recognized with a $100 cash award. The Original Poetry Award winners are as follows:

• Samantha Aikman from Mt Mansfield Union for her poem, To the Fig Tree on Kolocep Island
• Mars Sell from Woodstock Union for their poem, My Dad Went to Europe and All I Got Was a Wooden Giraffe
• Brooks Balkan from South Burlington High School for his poem, Their Pumpjack

To support the state’s Poetry Out Loud program each year, the Arts Council funds poetry recitation and creative writing workshops led by dynamic teaching artists and local poets.

Vermont Poetry Out Loud is supported by the Poetry Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state of Vermont. Since the program began in 2005, more than four million students across the country have participated in the national program. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers the monetary prizes.

For more information about Vermont Poetry Out Loud, visit

About the Vermont Arts Council
The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state’s primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at


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