On February 7th, just before the Super Bowl, poetry lovers of Sonoma County gathered on Zoom for the Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud Celebration. Six local teens from six local high schools offered pre-recorded recitations of great poems in two rounds. Recitations were judged by a diverse panel of poets and teachers. Judges took into account students' physical presence, accuracy, voice and articulation, evidence of understanding and dramatic appropriateness.
We are delighted to report that Ella Wen, a freshman at Maria Carillo took first place in the contest. Ella adores the arts, especially writing poetry. In Ella's own words: "Winning Sonoma County POL was a huge shock to me and I feel so incredibly fortunate and honored to have taken a part in this event! I really owe it all to my teachers and classmates for all their support.”
Ella recited “Sorrow Is Not My Name” by Ross Gay and "We Are Not Responsible" by Harryette Mullen.
Karla Maldonado, a junior at Roseland University Prep, was the runner up in the competition. Karla recited “The Albatross” by Kate Bass and “El Olvido” by Judith Ortiz Cofer.
Ella will now progress onward to the statewide competition on March 11th. While county winners typically travel to Sacramento to recite in person at the state championship, this year's competition will be held virtually.
Other student competitors included: Carolina Dawson from Analy, Anika Avelino from Rancho Cotate, Edward Duran from Roseland Collegiate Prep and Laura Josephine Escutia from Piner High.
Poetry out Loud is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, administered statewide by the California Arts Council. In Sonoma County, California Poets in the Schools and Creative Sonoma collaborate to create the Poetry Out Loud program locally with additional support from the Sonoma County Vinter's Foundation.
Bravo to all this year's participants and warm thanks to all the schools and classroom teachers for participating in Poetry Out Loud even in the midst of virtual learning.
Check out the Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud Program for even more info:
Click here to access a PDF version of the program: