State State Poetry Out Loud champion earns top national honor for original composition

IAC-Press Release

May 9, 2017


Rex Van Zant

Director of Marketing and Communications


State Poetry Out Loud champion earns national honor for recitation of original composition

(Indianapolis, Indiana) - The Indiana arts Commission (IAC) and the Indiana State Library (ISL) announced today that the Indiana Poetry Out Loud state champion won top honors for recitation of an original composition at the recent Poetry Out Loud national competition in Washington, D.C.

The 53 state and U.S. territories champions competing in the National Finals had the opportunity to showcase their creativity through the optional competition, Poetry Ourselves. Students could submit an original work of poetry in one of two categories; either a written poem or a video of a spoken poem.

Indiana Poetry Out Loud champion Shelby Newland, from Bloomington High School South, took first place in the spoken category, with second place going to Gabrielle D. Kunzika, from Classical Magnet School in Connecticut.

View Shelby’s recitation here:

“We’re elated that Shelby’s original composition earned top honors in the Poetry Ourselves competition,” said Wendy Knapp, Indiana Poetry Out Loud state coordinator. “Not only has Shelby shown herself to be proficient in the art of recitation, but this accolade also highlights her skills as a writer. We’re proud to have Shelby representing the Hoosier state.”

Theo Cai, from Hockaday School in Texas placed first in the written category, with second place honors taken by Megan Kim from Cascade Christian High School in Oregon.

Originally presented as a companion event to the 2016 Poetry Out Loud National Finals, Poetry Ourselves gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their creative writing and recitation talents.

Poetry Out Loud is a Partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. The program encourages the study of great poetry by offering education materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country.

The Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana State Library are partners in presenting the Indiana Poetry Out Loud competition. For more information about the Indiana Poetry Out Loud competition, visit

The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, every day, for everyone in Indiana.