Home » Elizabethtown High School senior wins state Poetry Out Loud state champion

Elizabethtown High School senior wins state Poetry Out Loud state champion

Advances to nationals from May 2-4 in Washington D.C.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 1, 2016) — Elizabethtown High School senior Naomi Cliett has been named Kentucky’s 2016 Poetry Out Loud state champion. Cliett advances to the Poetry Out Loud national competition May 2-4 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Naomi Cliett
Naomi Cliett

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 students 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.

Cliett advanced to the final round based on her recitations of “Movement Song” by Audre Lourde and “I Find no Peace” by Thomas Wyatt in rounds one and two, respectively. In the final round, Cliett clinched the state championship with her recitation of “Good People” by W.S. Merwin.

“It was really dramatic,” she said of her reaction to winning the state championship. “I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing.”

Poems must be memorized with the student’s interpretation also factored into the final score. Those elements places much demand on the competitors as they prepare.

Runner-up was Dominique Mims, a Betsy Layne High School senior, who recited “Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, in the final round. This was Betsy Layne’s first year in Poetry Out Loud, and Mims was proud to represent her school.

Cliett’s trip to Washington, D.C. will be her first to the nation’s capital. She also will receive $200, and her school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As runner-up, Mims will receive $100, and her school will receive a $200 stipend.

The three other finalists were:

  • Sierra DeShane, Allen County/Scottsville High School, Scottsville
  • Cassandra Fultz, Boyd County High School, Ashland
  • Hollie Morse, George Rogers Clark High School, Winchester

Students who competed in rounds one and two were:

  • Katelyn Bratcher, Meade County High School, Brandenburg
  • Haley Bryan, Grant County High School, Dry Ridge
  • Frances Dougherty, Central Hardin High School, Cecilia
  • Jasmine Humphrey, McCracken County High School, Paducah
  • Shay Jefferson, Butler Traditional High School, Louisville
  • Julia Martinez, Western Hills High School, Frankfort
  • Haley May, Conner High School, Hebron
  • Audrie Lamb, Graves County High School, Mayfield
  • Taryn Sick, Pike County Central High School, Pikeville
  • Kaleb Trent, Hart County High School, Munfordville
  • Connor Wagner, West Carter High School, Olive Hill
  • William Luke Vance, Leslie County High School, Hyden