NEWTOWN >> Kiley Malloy, a senior at Council Rock High School South, has been named the 2020 Bucks County High School Poet of the Year, officials at Bucks County Community College announced.
Malloy rose to the top of more than 80 entries in the 33rd annual contest, part of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program administered by the college. A first runner-up in both 2018 and 2019, Malloy is copy editor for “Illuminations,” the Council Rock South literary magazine.
For her first-place finish, Malloy wins $300 and will be honored with a poetry reading. Because the college campus is closed amid COVID-19 restrictions, Malloy read from her works during a special virtual reading and celebration on May 23 on the college’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/BucksCCC.
The three poems Malloy submitted for the contest were entitled, “When You Take Me for a Ghost,” “For Allen Ginsberg,” and “Apology (Prose Poem)”
Judges were current Bucks County Poet Laureate Mary Jo LoBello Jerome, and last year's laureate, Carly Volpe.
Jerome called Malloy’s poems “a joy to read,” with “so many artful and surprising nuances.”
“The poet demonstrates a real gift, a true talent, by choosing the details that add interest and surprise, moving the imagery forward and creating depth, and treating the subjects thoughtfully and creatively,” Jerome said. “The poems are tight — well-crafted and strong.”
In addition to the winner, the judges also named George School freshman Rhianna Searle as first runner-up; Neshaminy High School senior Nathalie Hernandez as second runner-up; and Council Rock High School South senior Jessica Wang as third runner-up.
The three runners-up will also read from their works during the virtual celebration, along with judges Jerome and Volpe, at 1 p.m. May 23 at youtube.com/BucksCCC
The 33rd annual Bucks County High School Poet of the Year contest is another way that Bucks County Community College contributes to the cultural heritage of the region. To learn more, visit bucks.edu/poets.
2020 Bucks County High School Poet of the Year Winners and Finalists: Winner, Kiley Malloy, Council Rock High School South, 12; 1st Runner-up, Rhianna Searle, George School, 9; 2nd Runner-up, Nathalie Hernandez, Neshaminy High School, 12; 3rd Runner-up, Jessica Wang, Council Rock High School South, 12.
Finalists: Eliza Babbitt, Central Bucks High School East, 11; Lauren Burchell, Lenape Middle School, 9; Tatiana Cleffi, Council Rock High School South, 12; Emily Harris, Central Bucks High School West, 11; and Karen Song, Central Bucks High School East, 10.
# # #
when you take me for a ghost by Kiley Malloy
you are forgiving. Every
chill in the air is a cause to be cautious, shoes
slipped off the soles of your feet in silence. The
goosebumps are the kind worth having, and
the blue in my fingers is charming, no faulty circulation.
This is how ghosts are supposed to look,
so the purple on my cheeks, red under my tongue is
welcome. You forgive me, and I’m Hamlet’s father
in this one except, I’m not asking for revenge but for
your favor— I thought I made that plain enough in Act One.
So you’ll slide closer to me right? Sigh
and see the clouds form? Press hand to cold cheek; untie
stones from my ankles with ginger fingers? The prints on the
window are ours, not just mine and my breaths
are warmer when we’ve both spit lakewater
from our lungs.
Until then, I’m the figure in the vent above the
black box and you’re still forgiving me when the
lights go out.