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Announcing Mariposa County’s Poetry Out Loud Champion

MARIPOSA — The Mariposa County Arts Council has awarded Sydney Jacobs, a senior at Mariposa County High School, the title of Mariposa County Champion of Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest that encourages youth voice and agency through the memorization and performance of great historical and contemporary poetry.

Sydney Jacobs performing during semi-finals, 2020 by Gracie Tafoya

This contest took place virtually and required participants to select and memorize 2 poems completely off-book, then film their best recitations and submit them to a panel of local judges. On Feb. 10, the judges evaluate each poetry performance on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.

Jacobs scored the highest in these criteria’s with powerful recitations of “Women Who Love Angels” by Judith Ortiz Cofer and “Death of Anne Bronte” by Charlotte Bronte. She was awarded $500 from the Mariposa Arts Council and will move on to compete in the virtual California State Finals, March 11, 2021.

The 2nd-place title, alternate position, and $250 was awarded to 10th grade drama student at Mariposa County High School, Jonah Dacanay who recited “Brother, I’ve Seen Some” by Kabir and “Carnival” by Rebecca Lindenburg. The 3rd-place position was earned by Tillyanna Healey with a $100 prize for her recitations of “Breakfast” by Mary Lamb “After a Rainstorm” by Robert Wrigley.

“Poetry Out Loud is always a challenging competition,” says Daisy Phillips, program coordinator at the Mariposa Arts Council. “Despite the difficulties and logistics of converting this typically in-person, staged event into a virtual contest, we were impressed by the students’ dedication to the craft. Poetry is an expansive art form and when well-delivered, it can inspire and invoke connection even through a screen.”

The Arts Council plans to support Jacobs and Dacanay in preparation for California State Finals with curated coaching sessions from local teaching artists, poets and performers who can help them refine and hone their talents even further.

Poetry Out Loud is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council.

The Arts Council, is an incorporated not-for-profit organization, created to promote and support all forms of the cultural arts, for all ages, throughout Mariposa County and is supported in part by the County of Mariposa, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the California Arts Council, a state agency.

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