PREVIOUS WINNERS

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Below are winners of previous Poetry Unites contests around the world.

Below are winners of previous Poetry Unites contests around the world.

MEET THE JUDGES

MEET THE JUDGES

All essays submitted to Poetry Unites Kentucky will be read and voted upon by a distinguished panel of professional writers, editors, critics, and scholars, with input  

from a Board of Advisors. The contest judges include:

All essays submitted to Poetry Unites Kentucky will be read and voted upon by a distinguished panel of professional writers, editors, critics, and scholars, with input  

from a Board of Advisors. The contest judges include:

RICHARD TAYLOR

RICHARD TAYLOR

Kentucky State Poet Laureate, 

1999-2001, the author of six collections of poetry, two historical novels, and several works of nonfiction and history. He teaches creative writing at the Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky State Poet Laureate, 

1999-2001, the author of six collections of poetry, two historical novels, and several works of nonfiction and history. He teaches creative writing at the Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky.

HANNAH DRAKE

HANNAH DRAKE

Blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and the author of 10 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race. Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”

hannahldrake.com

Blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and the author of 10 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race. Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”

hannahldrake.com

EDWARD HIRSCH

EDWARD HIRSCH

A celebrated poet and peerless advocate 

for poetry,  who has written a bestseller 

about poetry and has published nine books 

of poems.

edwardhirsch.com

A celebrated poet and peerless advocate 

for poetry,  who has written a bestseller 

about poetry and has published nine books 

of poems.

edwardhirsch.com

SHELDA HALE

SHELDA HALE

Poet, writer, advisor to the Kentucky Women Writers Conference Board

Poet, writer, advisor to the Kentucky Women Writers Conference Board

HOW IT WORKS

Poetry Unites Kentucky is open to all Kentucky residents of every age, and invites each participant to submit a 600-word essay describing the influence that a specific poem has had on his or her life.

Essays will be reviewed by a jury of prominent poets, writers and educators who will choose a group of eight finalists. Four Finalists will then be selected as subjects of the Poetry Unites Kentucky 30-minute documentary film, which will be presented at screenings in Kentucky and New York City.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION 

Participants who are selected as Finalists will receive a special commemorative award, and their essays will be published on the Poetry Unites America website and included in the Press Release.  Four participants will be featured in a documentary film.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE 

Essays submitted for the contest may be written in any style or form, but the poem described in the essay should be written by a published poet whose work is available 

to the general public. The essay should touch upon three topics: 

1) What is your favorite poem, who wrote it, and when did you first read it? 

2) Why is this poem important to you? 

3) What does your day look like, what are your dreams, and how does your chosen poem relate to your life? 

Submissions should be sent by September 15th, electronically to: poetryunites@gmail.com or as a hard-copy form to: 

Poetry Unites Kentucky c/o Poetry Unites

845 West End Avenue Apt 4B, NYC 10025 

SCHEDULE 

The key dates for Poetry Unites Kentucky are: 

OCTOBER 1  2020    September 15 2020 -- Essays due 

September 30 2020 -- Finalists announced 

October/December 2020 -- Video production 

March/April 2021 -- Gala screenings, (details to be announced)

LEADERSHIP

Poetry Unites Kentucky is a collaboration among many talented writers, filmmakers, journalists, sponsors and educators. The leaders of the project team are:

HOW IT WORKS

Poetry Unites Kentucky is open to all Kentucky residents of every age, and invites each participant to submit a 600-word essay describing the influence that a specific poem has had on his or her life.

Essays will be reviewed by a jury of prominent poets, writers and educators who will choose a group of eight finalists. Four Finalists will then be selected as subjects of the Poetry Unites Kentucky 30-minute documentary film, which will be presented at screenings in Kentucky and New York City.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION 

Participants who are selected as Finalists will receive a special commemorative award, and their essays will be published on the Poetry Unites America website and included in the Press Release.  Four participants will be featured in a documentary film.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE 

Essays submitted for the contest may be written in any style or form, but the poem described in the essay should be written by a published poet whose work is available 

to the general public. The essay should touch upon three topics: 

1) What is your favorite poem, who wrote it, and when did you first read it? 

2) Why is this poem important to you? 

3) What does your day look like, what are your dreams, and how does your chosen poem relate to your life? 

Submissions should be sent by September 15th, electronically to: poetryunites@gmail.com or as a hard-copy form to: 

Poetry Unites Kentucky c/o Poetry Unites

845 West End Avenue Apt 4B, NYC 10025 

SCHEDULE 

The key dates for Poetry Unites Kentucky are: 

OCTOBER 1  2020    September 15 2020 -- Essays due 

September 30 2020 -- Finalists announced 

October/December 2020 -- Video production 

March/April 2021 -- Gala screenings, (details to be announced)

LEADERSHIP

Poetry Unites Kentucky is a collaboration among many talented writers, filmmakers, journalists, sponsors and educators. The leaders of the project team are:

Celebrating the power of poetry in the lives of Americans

Celebrating the power of poetry in the lives of Americans

Let us share your story of what a poem you love has meant to you.

Whether you are a truck driver, lawyer, farmer, student, nurse, artist, or doctor, 

Poetry Unites invites you to tell how a poem has changed your thinking, 

explained your feelings, captured your imagination or touched your heart. 

Let us share your story of what a poem you love has meant to you.

Whether you are a truck driver, lawyer, farmer, student, nurse, artist, or doctor, 

Poetry Unites invites you to tell how a poem has changed your thinking, 

explained your feelings, captured your imagination or touched your heart. 

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

Kentucky is the third state after New York and Kansas to be featured in the series.

POETRY UNITES KENTUCKY is a statewide essay contest and documentary film project. It is presented in collaboration with the Kentucky Poet Laureate, Jeff Worley, the Kentucky Art Council, the Kentucky Press Association, scholars, poets, educators and journalists throughout Kentucky.

Kentucky is the third state after New York and Kansas to be featured in the series.

POETRY UNITES KENTUCKY is a statewide essay contest and documentary film project. It is presented in collaboration with the Kentucky Poet Laureate, Jeff Worley, the Kentucky Art Council, the Kentucky Press Association, scholars, poets, educators and journalists throughout Kentucky.

Poetry Unites America is an essay contest and documentary film project, which reveals how much Americans have in common when they open up through their love of poetry. 

 Using the integrating power of poetry, the series of 30-minute episodes, shot in different states, shows how easily we can feel united beyond political, racial, religious and cultural divisions. 

The four heroes of each episode are selected through a statewide contest for the best essay on their favorite poem. The contestants are asked why this particular poem has resonance for them. 

A jury composed of established writers, poets and critics, selects the best essays and the director, Ewa Zadrzynska and her crew shoot portraits of the winners. The result is a unique, heart-warming, and uplifting picture of the USA, an America United, whose existence we tend to doubt lately. 

Launched with the financial support of the Belgian Evens Foundation by filmmaker and author, 

Ewa Zadrzynska, Poetry Unites began in Europe where it has produced more than 100 portraits of people born in Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Israel, Korea, Japan, Bulgaria and Rwanda. 

The series has been broadcast on Poland’s national broadcasting network and German Public TV, BBG, and has been shown at screenings in Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Padua, Tel Aviv, Cracow, Sofia, London, Brussels, Budapest, and Wroclaw to millions of viewers.

In 2014, Zadrzynska brought her Poetry Unites contest to America with the announcement of 

a call for entries in New York State. 

 

In 2017 the contest was launched in Kansas and was produced by Uhlig LLC. The first 30 min episode was broadcast on PBS AllArts channels several times in 2019 and 2020.

The series aims to expand its reach throughout the United States featuring 4 winners from contests in selected states in the nation. 

Poetry Unites America is an essay contest and documentary film project, which reveals how much Americans have in common when they open up through their love of poetry. 

 Using the integrating power of poetry, the series of 30-minute episodes, shot in different states, shows how easily we can feel united beyond political, racial, religious and cultural divisions. 

The four heroes of each episode are selected through a statewide contest for the best essay on their favorite poem. The contestants are asked why this particular poem has resonance for them. 

A jury composed of established writers, poets and critics, selects the best essays and the director, Ewa Zadrzynska and her crew shoot portraits of the winners. The result is a unique, heart-warming, and uplifting picture of the USA, an America United, whose existence we tend to doubt lately. 

Launched with the financial support of the Belgian Evens Foundation by filmmaker and author, 

Ewa Zadrzynska, Poetry Unites began in Europe where it has produced more than 100 portraits of people born in Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Israel, Korea, Japan, Bulgaria and Rwanda. 

The series has been broadcast on Poland’s national broadcasting network and German Public TV, BBG, and has been shown at screenings in Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Padua, Tel Aviv, Cracow, Sofia, London, Brussels, Budapest, and Wroclaw to millions of viewers.

In 2014, Zadrzynska brought her Poetry Unites contest to America with the announcement of 

a call for entries in New York State. 

 

In 2017 the contest was launched in Kansas and was produced by Uhlig LLC. The first 30 min episode was broadcast on PBS AllArts channels several times in 2019 and 2020.

The series aims to expand its reach throughout the United States featuring 4 winners from contests in selected states in the nation. 

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

845 West End Avenue · Apt 4B · New York · New York 10025

845 West End Avenue · Apt 4B · New York · New York 10025

©2020 Poetry Unites America. All rights reserved.

©2020 Poetry Unites America. All rights reserved.

Kentucky has always been rich in stories even before statehood 

when it was the new American frontier in the 18th century.

An ongoing film project, called Poetry Unites America, 

has picked Kentucky for its next film in the series—Poetry Unites Kentucky.  

Any Kentucky resident can submit an essay, a personal story, 

focused on a poem that you love, a poem that has changed your life. 

How did you find this poem?  Why did it affect you so intensely?  

How has it mattered in your life?

The poet Jim Wayne Miller called Kentucky “a writerly state,” and for good reason: our state has inspired generations of writers and authors.

Let us hear from you!

JEFF WORLEY

Kentucky has always been rich in stories even before statehood 

when it was the new American frontier in the 18th century.

An ongoing film project, called Poetry Unites America, 

has picked Kentucky for its next film in the series—Poetry Unites Kentucky.  

Any Kentucky resident can submit an essay, a personal story, 

focused on a poem that you love, a poem that has changed your life. 

How did you find this poem?  Why did it affect you so intensely?  

How has it mattered in your life?

The poet Jim Wayne Miller called Kentucky “a writerly state,” and for good reason: our state has inspired generations of writers and authors.

Let us hear from you!

JEFF WORLEY

MORE DETAILS

MORE DETAILS

WATCH VIDEO HERE

WATCH VIDEO HERE

NINA DARNTON

NINA DARNTON

Author of The Perfect Mother and

An African Affair, Nina Darnton was also a journalist for 30 years. She has lived and worked in Nigeria, Kenya, and Spain.

ninadarnton.com

Author of The Perfect Mother and

An African Affair, Nina Darnton was also a journalist for 30 years. She has lived and worked in Nigeria, Kenya, and Spain.

ninadarnton.com

EWA ZADRZYNSKA

EWA ZADRZYNSKA

A Polish-born writer and filmmaker, Ewa is the author of numerous essays, short stories and children's books. 

In 2006, in collaboration with the Belgium-based Evens Foundation, she created the series Poetry Unites, bringing everyday people together through poetry. She lives in New York City.

A Polish-born writer and filmmaker, Ewa is the author of numerous essays, short stories and children's books. 

In 2006, in collaboration with the Belgium-based Evens Foundation, she created the series Poetry Unites, bringing everyday people together through poetry. She lives in New York City.

POETRY UNITES 

KENTUCKY

POETRY UNITES 

KENTUCKY

Celebrating the power of poetry 

in the lives of Kentuckians

Celebrating the power of poetry 

in the lives of Kentuckians

© 2020 BASIA KENTON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© 2020 BASIA KENTON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

JEFF WORLEY

JEFF WORLEY

Poet Laureate of Kentucky, has published six books, four chapbooks, and edited a poetry anthology, titles What Comes Down to Us. Jeff's  poems have also appeared widely in magazines in the Unites States and Canada for the past 45 years, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Poet Laureate of Kentucky, has published six books, four chapbooks, and edited a poetry anthology, titles What Comes Down to Us. Jeff's  poems have also appeared widely in magazines in the Unites States and Canada for the past 45 years, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

June 2020,  Jeff Worley, the Kentucky Poet Laureate, is pleased to announce a contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem:

June 2020,  Jeff Worley, the Kentucky Poet Laureate, is pleased to announce a contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem:

The Winners of the “Poetry Unites Kentucky” Contest Announced

 

New York, NY (October 21st 2020)—Jeff Worley, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2019-2020 and Ewa Zadrzynska in coordination with the KAC are pleased to announce the finalists of the 2020 Poetry Unites Kentucky contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem:

 

THE WINNER ARE:

Vicky Easterly, from Frankfort, KY, for the loving description of the family farm where she was raised and her sad resolve in leaving, after “The Peace of Wild Things” by native Kentuckian Wendell Berry 

Susie Feinwieck, a retired manufacturing executive from Water Valley in Western KY, whose religious sensibility was magnified by the sensory details depicted in “Pied Beauty” by Gerald Manley Hopkins. 

Carrie Green, a writer from Lexington, KY, who discovered “the little bird perched inside” her in gaining solace from “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson

Cherie Dawn Haas, an online content manager from Alexandria, KY in Campbell County, for connecting her own story of “loss as an art” with “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. 

Haley Kaelin, a student from Fort Knox, KY, for the realization of the personal healing power of self-recognition depicted in Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love.”  

Jonathan Miller, a writer from Lexington, KY, for celebrating the importance to his own family of memorizing and reciting Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” 

Brandon Nakasato, a substance-abuse treatment professional from Bardstown, KY, for his epiphany underscoring the sense of one’s own mortality in “Aubade” by Philip Larkin.

Rachana Rahman, a computer specialist from Frankfort, KY, for highlighting Rabindranath Tagore’s poem: “Where the Mind is Without Fear”, which helped her gain the courage to start a new life in a new country.

 

The judges agreed that it was a strong set of essays which showed a wide range of poetic interest. The jury selection members included:

 

1.     Jeff Worley, Poet Laureate of Kentucky 2019-2020

2.     Nina Darnton, NYC-based author

3.     Shelda Hale, poet, from Lexington, KY.

4.     Edward Hirsch, poet and president of the Guggenheim Foundation

5.     Richard Taylor, Poet Laureate of Kentucky from 1999 to 2001

6.     Ewa Zadrzynska, writer and filmmaker

 

 

The director will choose four protagonists out of eight winners to address the richness and uniqueness of Kentucky in her 30 min long documentary Poetry Unites Kentucky.

 

“Kentucky, has always been rich in stories, even before statehood, when it was the new American frontier in 18th century,” wrote Jeff Worley introducing the Poetry Unites Kentucky contest. The sophistication of essays received proves his words right.

 

The Kentuckians who participated in the contest wrote essays about Wendel Berry’s poems, Emily Dickinson’s work. The other essays featured poems by Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Rabindranath Tagore, Dylan Thomas, John Donne, H.W. Longfellow among others.  

 

Kentucky is the third episode in the series Poetry Unites America.

The Winners of the “Poetry Unites Kentucky” Contest Announced

 

New York, NY (October 21st 2020)—Jeff Worley, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2019-2020 and Ewa Zadrzynska in coordination with the KAC are pleased to announce the finalists of the 2020 Poetry Unites Kentucky contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem:

 

THE WINNER ARE:

Vicky Easterly, from Frankfort, KY, for the loving description of the family farm where she was raised and her sad resolve in leaving, after “The Peace of Wild Things” by native Kentuckian Wendell Berry 

Susie Feinwieck, a retired manufacturing executive from Water Valley in Western KY, whose religious sensibility was magnified by the sensory details depicted in “Pied Beauty” by Gerald Manley Hopkins. 

Carrie Green, a writer from Lexington, KY, who discovered “the little bird perched inside” her in gaining solace from “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson

Cherie Dawn Haas, an online content manager from Alexandria, KY in Campbell County, for connecting her own story of “loss as an art” with “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. 

Haley Kaelin, a student from Fort Knox, KY, for the realization of the personal healing power of self-recognition depicted in Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love.”  

Jonathan Miller, a writer from Lexington, KY, for celebrating the importance to his own family of memorizing and reciting Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” 

Brandon Nakasato, a substance-abuse treatment professional from Bardstown, KY, for his epiphany underscoring the sense of one’s own mortality in “Aubade” by Philip Larkin.

Rachana Rahman, a computer specialist from Frankfort, KY, for highlighting Rabindranath Tagore’s poem: “Where the Mind is Without Fear”, which helped her gain the courage to start a new life in a new country.

 

The judges agreed that it was a strong set of essays which showed a wide range of poetic interest. The jury selection members included:

 

1.     Jeff Worley, Poet Laureate of Kentucky 2019-2020

2.     Nina Darnton, NYC-based author

3.     Shelda Hale, poet, from Lexington, KY.

4.     Edward Hirsch, poet and president of the Guggenheim Foundation

5.     Richard Taylor, Poet Laureate of Kentucky from 1999 to 2001

6.     Ewa Zadrzynska, writer and filmmaker

 

 

The director will choose four protagonists out of eight winners to address the richness and uniqueness of Kentucky in her 30 min long documentary Poetry Unites Kentucky.

 

“Kentucky, has always been rich in stories, even before statehood, when it was the new American frontier in 18th century,” wrote Jeff Worley introducing the Poetry Unites Kentucky contest. The sophistication of essays received proves his words right.

 

The Kentuckians who participated in the contest wrote essays about Wendel Berry’s poems, Emily Dickinson’s work. The other essays featured poems by Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Rabindranath Tagore, Dylan Thomas, John Donne, H.W. Longfellow among others.  

 

Kentucky is the third episode in the series Poetry Unites America.