Stanley named Poetry Out Loud state champion

Landon Stanley performs at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center during the MHS Poetry Out Loud contest. He went on to win the state-level competition this season.

For the second year in a row, a Marshalltown High School student has won the Poetry Out Loud state finals, the Iowa Arts Council announced today.

MHS freshman Landon Stanley took first place in this year’s contest, earning a chance to compete for a national championship and a share of $50,000 in scholarships and school prize money. MHS alum Elijah Thiessen took first place last year.

Stanley won this year’s contest with recitations of “Broken Promises” by David Kirby, “A Graveyard” by Marianne Moore, and “La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad” by John Keats. With his victory, Stanley received a $200 cash prize and $500 for MHS to purchase poetry books, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.

He will compete virtually against students from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and several U.S. territories in the national semifinals, which will be streamed on Sunday, May 1, at

This year’s virtual state competition capped off a season during which nearly 500 Iowa students memorized and recited poems for school and semi-final state competitions. The top 18 scoring students advanced to the recent state contest.