Poetry Out Loud

“In the end, being sincere and true to yourself is what people in the theatre -and everywhere- crave to see in a performance.” ~ Lily Bogas, 2019 California Poetry Out Loud Champion

Poetry Out Loud 2020-2021 is VIRTUAL!

As a designated Arts Council, AmadorArts is required by the state to provide the Poetry Out Loud curriculum to all local high school students. Following virtual workshops available for FREE to all classrooms, Poetry Out Loud virtual countywide competition will take place on January 31, 2021Competition is not required in order to get these great classes. Available to all classrooms and community groups.

Our curriculum includes:

  • Performance & Recitation Workshops – preparing students for competition with local poets and performers. First Thursday of the month from 6-7pm is a virtual poetry workshop open to all. Register HERE


  • Poetic Movement – a dance curriculum, with local artist, Meghan Joy O’Keefe


  • Black Out Poetry – a visual arts curriculum with local artist, Alyssa Vargas & Poet Laureate, Alyssa Vargas


  • Storytelling Guild – Co-learning curriculum with Amador’s first Poet Laureate, Kat Everitt


  • Poetry Ourselves – original poetry writing workshop with Amador Poet Laureate Deja Douglas


To get the Poetry Out Loud virtual curriculum into your classroom for FREE, contact Program Coordinator, Alyssa Vargas at alyssa.amadorarts@gmail.com or 209-256-8166.

This program is supported entirely by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Find out more at arts.ca.gov.

Don’t like competing with Poetry?
– That’s ok, our curriculum is all about having fun with poetry! Only those who chose to compete do so. Have fun with poetry including “Black Out Poetry” with local visual artist Alyssa Vargas (create a visual arts poem from every day household items), “Poetic Movement” with local performance artist Meghan Joy O’Keefe, and more!

Noah Bunting Amador 2020 Poetry Out Loud Champion  

Noah Bunting, Amador High class of 2020, with mother Lara.

Noah Bunting, a senior at Amador High School, is the 2020 Amador County Poetry Out Loud champion. Following competitions held locally at the high schools, Poetry Out Loud (POL) students competed at the February 1st County Final, and for the second year in a row, Bunting achieved the highest score and was named the 2020 Amador County POL Champion. Second place was awarded to Charlene Chiero, a student at Mountain Oaks, a homeschool program in Ione.

Seven students, grades 10 through 12, went head-to-head with two rounds of poetry recitations and the scores were very close. Competitors from Amador, Argonaut, and Mountain Oaks High Schools included students: Samantha Clinton, Noah Bunting, Madison Stevens, Ian McMAhan, Charlene Chiero, Andre King, and Lillian Fawver. Judges included Donna Custodio—Director at Amador County Office of Education, Lyla Osmundsen—local poet and author, Sue Lagomarsino—Board member of the Amador County Arts Council and ACUSD teacher, and Dana Jorgensen—from the offices of Assemblyman Bigelow and Senator Borgeas.

As the POL Champion, Bunting receives a $50 prize, unlimited free POL tutoring, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the capitol for the State Finals. His classroom, Advanced Drama with teacher Giles Turner, receives a year subscription to Poetry Magazine. All seven finalists were awarded certificates and sweatshirts emblazoned with the Amador County Poetry Out Loud logo designed by Argonaut art student Elijiah Sanchez.

This spring, when Bunting represents Amador County at the POL State Finals in Sacramento, he’ll be competing against champs from 51 other counties. These Finals, March 15-16,  will include poetry workshops with peers, keynote presentations from professional poets, pictures with Senators, and student recitations from the floor of the Senate Chambers. 

POL is a program in which students learn memorization, recitation, and public speaking skills through poetry. Students are required to chose poems from the published POL Anthology (available to all poetry lovers at poetryoutloud.org). Bunting chose“1969” by Alex Dimitrov and “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” by Wallace Stevens. In 2019, Bunting was the first Amador County POL student to ever make it to the Final Round of the state competition. This year, his third poem will be “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allen Poe. If (and when) Bunting wins the State POL title, he then goes to Washington D.C. and has a chance to win over $20,000 in cash and prizes. His classroom will also receive an award.

As a competitor in the county POL finals, students were invited to submit an original poem for the newly added “Poetry Ourselves” award. Lillian Fawver from Mountain Oaks High School won the honor and recited her original poem, entitled “Ghost”. Additional presentations at the Feb. 1st event were made by younger poets from Sutter Creek Elementary and an original poem from Amador County Poet Laureate, Kat Everitt. Amador County Arts Council provides Poetry Out Loud for free to all high school students and classrooms. The program is funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the California Arts Council, a state agency, www.cac.ca.gov.

California Poetry Out Loud

2019 Amador County Poetry Out Loud Champion, Noah Bunting
2019 Amador Poet Laureate, elder Kat Everitt, a local poet and performance artist

Poetry Out Loud County Competition is on February 1, 2020 at 4pm at the Amador County Arts Council in Jackson.

2019 Poetry Out Loud Championship

Seven students from Amador County recently competed in the Poetry Out Loud County Final competition, which was held at Jackson Library in the evening of Monday, February 11. After judging was completed, it was announced that Noah Bunting resident of Sutter Creek and from Amador High School, is the Amador County Poetry Out Loud winner.

Bunting, along with parent/guardian, will now proceed with expenses paid to compete in the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals to be held in Sacramento on March 10 and 11. California proudly holds court as home to the largest Poetry Out Loud competition in the country, growing steadily since its start in 2005.  The state champion receives:

  • $200 cash prize and an all-expense-paid trip to the National Finals Washington, D.C. and the opportunity to receive college scholarship funds
  • $500 for their school to purchase literary materials

This year’s Amador competitors received many weeks of tutoring from local professional artists in the poetry and performance fields, including Amador Poet Laureate Kat Everitt and Cal Fullerton graduate and Amador High alumna Christina Morris (’13). The highlight of the evening included amazing recitations by six students from Pioneer Elementary, the local Visual and Performing Arts magnet school. Judges were local arts education leaders: Amador County Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Slavensky, School Board President Susan Ross, Visual and Performing Arts Principal of Pioneer Elementary Laurie Carson, and AmadorArts Education Director Sue Lagomarsino. Previous County winners were Conor Broderick and Hailey Dacier, both from of Amador High School.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is an extraordinary opportunity for high school students to learn great poetry, perform it, and win prizes. POL is a free program in which students learn through poetry memorization and recitation. It helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and better understand literary history and contemporary life.

This is the third year that Amador County has participated in Poetry Out Loud, organized by AmadorArts because of its importance in Arts Education. Nearly every county in the state participates and receives funding from the California Arts Council, a State Agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts to facilitate the program.

Poetry Out Loud starts through the English Depts. at Amador, Argonaut, and Independence High Schools and through the Drama Depts. at Argonaut and Amador High Schools. Meghan O’Keefe of AmadorArts thanks the involvement of administrators and teachers at the three high schools and at the school district for continuing this valued program. The AmadorArts phone is 209-256-8166 or amadorarts@gmail.com

AmadorArts is proud to bring Poetry Out Loud to Amador County High Schools.

Students from all over California compete in Sacramento for the State POL Championship.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is an extraordinary opportunity for high school students to learn great poetry, perform it, and win prizes—including a trip to Washington D.C. for the California State Champion to compete in the national finals. POL is a free program that helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage and compete for college scholarship funding.

The structure of Poetry Out Loud is similar to a spelling bee. This annual program starts in the fall with high school teachers using the free Poetry Out Loud teacher toolkit and related materials to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions. Poetry Out Loud does not require full class periods and can be completed in 2-3 weeks. Resources are available at www.poetryoutloud.org.

Following a pyramid structure, classroom winners advance to a school-wide competition. Each school’s champion then competes at the county level by mid-February, and county winners are treated to an unforgettable 2 days at the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento.

The State Finals competition selects one winner to represent California in the national competition. The California State winner receives $200 cash prize and an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C. Plus, their school receives $500 to purchase literary materials.

Noah Bunting, county POL winner from Amador High,
represented Amador County at the State Poetry Out Loud competition
in Sacramento on March 10 and 11, 2019.

Noah was one of 15 to make it to the final round.