Tuesday, March 18, 2014

El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud Winner Off to State Finals


Connor Ricketts, 2013 & 2014 Poetry Out Loud 1st place winner, El Dorado County
For the second year in a row, Connor Ricketts, a sophomore at Charter University Prep in El Dorado, garnered first place honors at the El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud competition held at the Imagination Theater on Thursday night, February 6th. Connor won with his inspired performances of Matthew Arnold's classic poem "Dover Beach"  and Delmore Schwartz's "The True Blue American," a comic poem on the paradoxical nature that inhabits American individualism. Arts Council Executive Director Deb Jensen presented Connor with a $100 check for his efforts.

Earning second place honors and a $75 check was El Dorado High School senior Evan Lucero who mesmerized attendees with his haunting rendition of Linda Gregg's "The Lamb," a poem about the resilience of the human spirit in the aftermath of war, followed by Amy Clampitt's "Dancers Exercising," a philosophical inquiry into the elusive nature of memory.

(l-r) Evan Lucero, Connor Ricketts, Leora Mazumdar
Leora Mazumdar, a sophomore at Oak Ridge High School, placed third, reciting Gwendolyn Brooks' "a song in the front yard," a saucy poem about a young girl's yearning for independence. In the contest's second round, Leoras performed Ha Jin's "Ways of Talking" which addresses the immigrant's loss of homeland. Leora received $50 in prize money from the Arts Council.

Four other high school champions also took center stage that evening, enchanting the audience with their poem selections, including Glen Carlisle of Golden Sierra High School, Nicole Sutherland of Independence High School, Sam King of the County Office of Education, and Becky Glaister of Union Mine High School. All students received gift certificates from the Bookery and verse-inscribed dog-tags from the Arts Council.

Poetry Out Loud El Dorado County High School Champions
Back row, left to right: Glen Carlisle, Evan Lucero, Leora Mazumdar, Becky Glaister, Nicole Sutherland
Front row, left to right: Sam King, Connor Ricketts
Connor Ricketts now goes on to the California State Poetry Out Loud Competition held in Sacramento at the Sheraton Hotel on Sunday, March 23, and in the California State Senate Chambers on Monday, March 24. In turn, the winner of the state competition will compete against 52 other state and territory champions at the Poetry Out Loud Nationals held in Washington, DC at the end of April, National Poetry Month. The stakes are high at the nationals, with the first place winner awarded a grand prize of $20,000 and the second and third place winners receiving $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

The Arts Council is grateful to the fifty plus volunteers who so graciously gave of their time and brain power to be part of our county's Poetry Out Loud contest! You know who you are! We thank you a thousand times and then some!

Please join us in congratulating Connor and wishing him well at the state competition! Know that all of El Dorado County is rooting for you, Connor!   
All POL photos courtesy of Betty Sederquist. 

From the El Dorado Arts Council March 2014 Newsletter, ArtBeat