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Image of Matchett and Levad coaching session.
Maegan Matchett and Megan Levad having a coaching session.

Maegan Matchett Announced as Poetry Out Loud Finalist

MARIPOSA – The Mariposa Arts Council is proud to share that Maegan Matchett, a sophomore at Mariposa County High School (MCHS), has placed within the top finalists of the California State Poetry Out Loud competition on March 21, 2022, with her performances of “Portrait of my gender as [Inaudible]” by Meg Day, “The Robots are Coming” by Kyle Dargan, and “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” by Emily Dickinson.

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest that challenges youth to experience great historical and contemporary poetry through memorization and performance. California holds one of the largest competitions, with 43 counties competing for the state title.

This year, students participated in state finals virtually through video submission in response to the ongoing Covid public health emergency. Mariposa County was able to hold the local competition in-person, where contestants were evaluated based on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy.

After the initial school contest at MCHS, eight top-scoring students moved on to compete for the Mariposa County Champion title on Feb. 9, including: Maegan Matchett, Aaron Newman, Tillyanna Healey, Bodhi Khampasri, Dulce McGrath, Madeline Jacobs, Emma Mero, and Theresse Mandin. After an incredibly close competition, Maegan Matchett earned the Champion title, and Tillyanna Healey took second place as the Runner-Up.

“I’m so proud of Maegan for her stellar performance despite all of the challenges that Covid posed. She mastered her performance and demonstrated her insight into the meanings behind her carefully chosen poems. It’s an incredible accomplishment to [reach] finals as a sophomore in the State competition,” says English teacher Brooke Dobson, who leads the Poetry Out Loud curriculum and contest at MCHS.

Image of Karyna McGlynn.

Karyna McGlynn.

To prepare for state finals, the Arts Council provided opportunities for Matchett work with two acclaimed poets, Karyna McGlynn (over Zoom) and Megan Levad, who helped her refine and hone her performance over the months of February and March. “We were so fortunate that Karyna joined our Poetry Out Loud team in Mariposa this year, thanks to our POL coordinator, Meg Levad,” says Mariposa Arts Council Program Coordinator, Daisy Phillips. “As poetry grows in our community, it’s exciting to make connections to such major players in the field. Karyna has an incredible breadth of experience, she approached coaching with seriousness, energy and joy for the craft. Despite how intimidating it may have been at the start, we watched Maegan’s talents expand and reveal exponentially with each coaching session.”

As an extension of Poetry Out Loud and to celebrate National Poetry Month, the Arts Council invites the community to join Maegan Matchett, Karyna McGlynn, and contemporary poet Michael Mlekoday on April 28 at 6 p.m. for a special virtual poetry reading via Zoom. This event is free to the public and will feature readings by each poet, discussion and open Q & A session to follow.

Registration is open now at www.mariposaartscouncil.org/poetry or by calling the Arts Council at 209-966-3155.

Resident poet and author, Megan Levad will host this reading, expressing her excitement “ . . . about the enthusiasm for poetry in Mariposa County. I hope many people tune in to hear Maegan’s coach Karyna McGlynn read with California poet Michael Mlekoday in April!”

Special thanks to MCHS teachers Brooke Dobson and Annika Zrebski; to our panel of judges, Laura-Lynn La Notte Hays, Alma Alvarado Cabrera and Ben Goger. Also, we extend our deep appreciation and thanks to Spring Hill High School’s Creative Writing students for their incredible conversation and vulnerable honesty in poetry-writing this spring with volunteers Tyson Wellcome, Laura Phillips, and Rose Fluharty.

Poetry Out Loud is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. More information can be found at www.poetryoutloud.org.

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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