Arts Council
Grant County sophomore wins Poetry Out Loud state competition, advances to national finals

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 18, 2015  
Contact Information:  Tom Musgrave
Communications Director
502-564-3757, ext. 489

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A packed house at Frankfort's Grand Theatre cheered as Grant County High School sophomore Haley Bryan was named winner of the Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state competition March 12. She will represent Kentucky in the Poetry Out Loud national finals April 28-29 in Washington, D.C.

"I'm really happy," Bryan said immediately following the announcement of her victory. "I did this last year and I really wanted this."

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Each student is judged on the recitation of two poems, which are selected by the student and their teachers from a preapproved list of works. Five students were selected to advance to the third and final round, where they recited another prepared poem.

Bryan, 16, was one of 14 state finalists who competed in the first and second rounds Thursday morning in Frankfort. She advanced to the final round based on her recitations of "Domestic Situation" by Ernest Hilbert and "For Love" by Robert Creeley in rounds one and two, respectively. In the final round, Bryan clinched the state championship with her recitation of "Revenge" by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

The competition is important, Bryan said, because it helps people realize that poetry is not just a collection of words on a page.

"I like this competition because some people don't always understand what poetry feels like or what it means," Bryan said. "I think conveying it in words and emotion helps people understand."

Runner-up was Cacia Rose, a George Rogers Clark High School senior, who recited "In the Desert" by Steven Crane in the final round.

"I'm really excited," Rose said. "I never expected to make it to state, much less get second place."

The three other finalists were:

  • Gabby Thompson, Boyd County High School, "Insomnia," by Dana Gioia.

  • Brooke Salsman, McCracken County High School, "For the Young Who Want To,"
    by Marge Piercy.

  • Taryn Syck, Pike County Central High School, "Insomnia," by Dana Gioia.

"All of our school champions and the five finalists delivered stellar interpretations," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "We certainly wish Haley the best of luck in Washington, D.C., next month. I know she will represent the Commonwealth with pride and distinction."

In addition to an all-expense paid trip for herself and a chaperone to the national finals, Bryan will receive $200, and her school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As runner-up, Rose will receive $100, and her school will receive a $200 stipend.

Students who competed in rounds one and two were:

  • Matt Bradshaw, Butler Traditional High School, Jefferson County
  • Naomi Cliett, Elizabethtown High School, Hardin County
  • Sierra DeShane, Allen County Scottsville High School, Allen County
  • Loren Prather, Graves County High School
  • Haylee Stevens, Phelps Junior and Senior High School, Pike County
  • Katelyn Taylor, Franklin County High School
  • Kaleb Trent, Hart County High School
  • Connor Wagner, West Carter High School, Carter County
  • Cameron Wilson, Western Hills High School, Franklin County

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Click on thumbnail image to download a print-quality image.

Haley Bryan Photo 1 – Haley Bryan
Haley Bryan, a sophomore at Grant County High School, was ecstatic after learning she was the 2015 Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state champion on March 12 at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort. She will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals will take place April 28-29 in Washington, D.C.
Haley Bryan and Cacia Rose Photo 2 – Winner and runner-up
From left, Grant County High School sophomore Haley Bryan and George Rogers Clark High School senior Cacia Rose were the winner and runner-up, respectively, of the 2015 Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state championship March 12 at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort.

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