Noah Bunting, 2020 Amador Poetry Out Loud Champion, and his mother, Lara Bunting.
Seven students, grades 10 through 12, went head-to-head with two rounds of poetry recitations and the scores were very close. 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. The Finals on 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 competitors 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.
Amador Poetry Out Loud logo designed by Elijah Sanchez is shown on the front of the 2020 sweatshirt.