The Poetry Out Loud State Championships start this weekend on Sunday, and Inyo County’s local champion is competing in Sacramento. Samantha Burns, a student at Bishop Union High School will be competing against students from fifty-two other counties in California.
If Samantha were to place in the top eight of the Poetry Out Loud contest, she would have the opportunity to attend the national contest in Washington DC.
As far as the competition is concerned, there are two heats occurring at the Stanley Mosk Library in Sacramento on Sunday. The northern counties for California will start the proceedings at 9:00 AM. Afterwards, students from the southern counties will read their poetry beginning at 2:00 P.M. Inyo County is apart of the southern groupings.
There are two poems which students must recite. The contestants are judged by accuracy, eye contact and delivery. Several judges determine who they believe were the best performers and the finalists will have to recite their third poems in the State Capitol Senate Chamber on Monday. Afterward, a winner will be selected by the judges.
Inyo County’s finalist, Samantha Burns two poems she will recite are Bleeding Heart and Blade Unplugged. Bleeding Heart is a poem written by Carmen Giménez Smith, a poet based in New York City, who has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry. The second poem is Blade Unplugged, written by Tim Seibles, who is a poet and a professor of English and creative writing at Old Dominion University.
“I am so proud of Samantha qualifying for this event.” Samatha’s mother Sandy said. “She worked extremely hard for this opportunity, and being apart of this event just goes to show how much love and appreciation she has for poetry.”