Allen County Junior Crowned Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Skye Kozloski, a 16-year-old junior from Allen County-Scottsville High School, took the state title at the Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state finals, March 3, at Frankfort’s Grand Theatre. Kozloski was one of 15 participants in the statewide poetry recitation competition, which is sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

After three rounds of competition, Allen County-Scottsville High School junior Skye Kozloski emerged as the champion in the Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state finals, March 3, at Frankfort’s Grand Theatre.

“Congratulations to Skye Kozloski and Allen County-Scottsville for winning the 2020 Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state finals,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky is honored to have Skye represent and showcase our state and the Allen County-Scottsville community’s commitment to incorporating art education into our public education system.”

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Each student, in the first and second round, was judged on the recitation of two poems. The five top scorers from the first two rounds advanced to the final round where they each recited a third poem. All poems are selected by the students and their teachers from a preapproved anthology of works.

“I was quite surprised,” Kozloski, 16, said of her win over 14 other competitors who had won their schools’ individual competitions to advance to the state finals. “I didn’t expect to be a finalist, let alone win, but I’m quite excited.”

Kozloski’s path to the championship included recitations of “Possible Answers to Prayer” by Scott Cairns and “Across the Bay” by Donald Davie in the first and second rounds, respectively. She clinched the state title with her interpretation of “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats.

“I liked that the poems where melancholic and they didn’t really have a specific tone,” she said. “They could be perceived in any way. I liked that I could do what I wanted with them.”

Allen County-Scottsville High School has been participating in the state Poetry Out Loud program since 2008. Kozloski is the school’s first state champion, and will represent Kentucky in the Poetry Out Loud national finals, April 27-29, in Washington, D.C.

State runner-up was Grace Caroline Key of Elizabethtown High School. The other three finalists were McKennah Bryan of Grant County High School, Brynn Cooper of Spencer County High School and Sofie Sanders of Danville High School.

In addition to her trip to the national finals, Kozloski will receive $200, and Allen County-Scottsville High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As runner-up, Key will receive $100, and Elizabethtown High School will receive a $200 stipend.

The school champions, listed by name, academic year, school and county are as follows:

  • Megan Arnold, junior, Great Crossing High School, Scott
  • Clay Bockhorst, sophomore, Kentucky Country Day School, Jefferson
  • McKennah Bryan, sophomore, Grant County High School, Grant
  • Mackenzie Carmack, senior, Scott County High School, Scott
  • Rachel Clay, junior, Lafayette High School, Fayette
  • Brynn Cooper, sophomore, Spencer County High School
  • Fernando Franco, senior, Bowling Green High School, Warren
  • Emma Hackworth, freshman, George Rogers Clark High School, Clark
  • Kylie Maecin Hall, sophomore, Phelps Junior and Senior High School, Pike
  • Grace Caroline Key, senior, Elizabethtown High School, Hardin
  • Skye Kozloski, junior, Scottsville-Allen County High School, Allen
  • Donovan Mullins, senior, Betsy Layne High School, Floyd
  • Aubree Ruf, sophomore, Augusta Independent School, Bracken
  • Sofie Sanders, sophomore, Danville High School, Boyle
  • Kevin Sokol, senior, Saint Xavier High School, Jefferson

Judges for this year’s state competition were Kentucky Poet Laureate Jeff Worley, performing artist Carmen Mitzi Sinnott and Affrilachian Poet Jude McPherson.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud in Kentucky, contact Samuel Lockridge, Kentucky Arts Council Education Director, at 502-892-3124 or via email at

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