Poetry Out Loud:
2022 Kentucky State Finalists

Frankfort, Ky. (March 2, 2022) — After three rounds of competition, Beechwood High School freshman Lupita Diaz emerged as the champion in the Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state finals, March 1.

Twelve school champions participated in the annual poetry recitation competition, which was held virtually via Facebook Live to accommodate public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poetry Out Loud is 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.

Diaz’s path to the state title included recitations of “Spanglish” by Tato Laviera and “Diameter” by Michelle Y. Burke in the first and second rounds, respectively. In the third round, she recited “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning.

“I never expected this at all,” Diaz said, surrounded at her computer by cheering Beechwood classmates. “I’m so grateful.”

State runner-up was Charlotte Knapp, a sophomore at Great Crossing High School in Scott County. The other three finalists were Veronique DeMarse, a Greenwood High School senior; Grace Owen, a George Rogers Clark High School freshman; and Kate Shirts, an Elizabethtown High School.

In addition to participating in the national finals later this year, Diaz will receive $200, and Beechwood High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As runner-up, Knapp will receive $100, and Great Crossing High School will receive a $200 stipend.

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

Judges for this year’s state competition were poets Jude McPherson, Katerina Stoykova, Makalani Bandele and Bernard Clay.

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