2017 Wisconsin Poetry Out Loud Award Winner

Janessa Gould Impresses at State POL Finals


Janessa Gould, Wisconsin's 2017 POL Champion (R) from Altoona HS and Saleaqua Winston, (L) runner-up from Milwaukee High School In her 3rd state contest, Janessa Gould (right) achieved her goal decisively winning 2017 Wisconsin State POL finals.  A senior at Altoona High School, she was confident and completely competent delighting her long-term coach, Angela Rolosen, her English teacher. The competition included 8 other regional champions from across Wisconsin at the event held on March 11, 2017 at the Chazen Museum/auditorium in Madison. Newcomer Saleaqua Winston (left), a junior at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, was an impressive runner-up coached by Katherine Katter.  Coached by Nik Yasko, Mandy McLaughlin, senior at Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah HS coming in third.

The Original Poetry Contest from school champions qualifying for their regional competition was added to this year’s competition.  Sunmi Famule, a published poet from Superior High School, won with her poem, “Tobacco and Salt.” Bruce Dethlefsen, a former Wisconsin poet laureate from Westfield, judged this event and was one of the judges of year’s recitation contest.

Representing the NW WI Region, Gould won $200 and an all expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington, DC., for the national finals contest on the campus of the George Washington University, on April 24-26. From the Urban Lakes Region, Winston won $100. They also won $500 and $200 respectively for their school libraries for poetry books.

Participating from  Northwest Regional was Zachary Palmer, a Superior HS junior. From the NE WI Region was Megan Leick, a senior at Wrightstown HS.  From Capitol Region:  freshman Ashley Gray, Lodi HS and sophomore Adama Bah, Lafollette HS (Madison);   Urban Lakes: sophomore Abby Fuchs, Brookfield Central HS and sophomore Ellie Norman, University School of Milwaukee.

Karla Huston, Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate and journalist and poet Ronnie Hess joined Dethlefsen in judging the three-round contest.  Jim Fleming of Wisconsin Public Radio emceed the occasion for the 10th and final time. Jacki Martindale is Wisconsin’s Poetry Out Loud state coordinator.

The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with State Arts Agencies like the Wisconsin Arts Board.  Awards total $50,000 in prizes each year. For more information see www.poetryoutloud.org., jmpmartindale@gmail.com or Poetry Out Loud Wisconsin on Facebook.