Wyoming Arts Council

Sundance Student Lauren Haiar Wins National Poetry Ourselves Contest


Lauren Haiar of Sundance Secondary School competing at the 2018 Poetry Out Loud state competition in Washington, D.C. Photo credit James Kegley. 

Each year, the winners of the Poetry Out Loud state competitions descend on Washington D.C. where they compete for the top spot in the national poetry recitation contest, as well as the Poetry Ourselves original student-written poetry competition.

This year, Wyoming’s State Champion Lauren Haiar of Sundance Secondary School won the latter contest.

After claiming the title of State Champion for the second year in a row, Haiar took home the $200 prize, a $500 stipend for their school to purchase poetry books, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital to compete on the national stage at Lisner Auditorium on the grounds of the historic George Washington University.

The winners of the state contests are also invited to submit original poetry for consideration in the Poetry Ourselves competition.

Professional poet and contest judge Jamaal May gave Haiar’s poem “Creation Story” the top honor. Haiar was invited to the Dirksen Senate Building and congratulated by the Wyoming congressional delegation, of Senator Mike Enzi, Senator John Barasso and Representative Liz Cheney.

Both events encourage the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through writing, memorization, and performance.

Developed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a free contest for high-school students (grades 9-12) in both public and private schools. It serves every state and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Haiar’s winning poem is as follows:

A Creation Story

my mind slips away into itself
like the phases of the moon
tectonic plates

my personas sliding upon one another
on top of one another spilling
mountains of my inquiries from my mouth

only to pull away in the rumbling quakes
creating deep crevices in the ocean bottom of my mind
rewrite the landscape of my body

Pangea, my mother
has broken herself into
my brother’s continents

and the way you love the moon when it is less full
Please could you love my heart as well


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