Curtlyn Kramer Curtlyn Kramer, a senior from Ashland attending The Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University, emerged as the winner among the 21 high school champions from across the Commonwealth who competed in the seventh annual Poetry Out Loud state finals March 21, 2012, in Frankfort.

As winner of the state finals, Kramer and a chaperone received $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete with other state champions in the National Finals May 13-15, 2012. The Gatton Academy received $500 for the purchase of poetry books for its library. Kramer will compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C., for the opportunity to receive up to $20,000 in scholarship funds. Overall, the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest will award $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes to winners and top finalists.


Samantha IsbellSamantha Isbell, a sophomore from Lone Oak High School in Paducah, was the second-place winner. She received a $100 cash prize and $200 for her school to purchase library books.

Both Kramer and Isbell will be invited to recite poems at the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Writers’ Day celebration April 24, 2012, in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort.

The Poetry Out Loud state finals are presented by the Kentucky Arts Council in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, as part of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, a program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

Watch videos of all five 2012 state finalists:

State Champion
Curtlyn Kramer, Gatton Academy

2nd Place Winner
Samantha Isbell, Lone Oak HS

Jordan Smith, Harlan County HS

Gabby Thompson, Boyd County HS

Conor Whalen, Ballard HS





Kentucky Arts Council