COE announces 2023 Poetry Out Loud results

2023 Santa Cruz County Poetry Out Loud Champion Tashi Liem, a senior at Santa Cruz High. (Santa Cruz COE)

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education (Santa Cruz COE) is pleased to announce the results of the 2023 Santa Cruz County Poetry Out Loud competition. 

The event was held Tuesday, February 7, at Bookshop Santa Cruz, hosted by the Santa Cruz COE in partnership with Arts Council Santa Cruz County. This year, 12 students participated, reciting poems before a crowd of nearly 100 supporters and a panel of esteemed poets, including newly appointed Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate Farnaz Fatemi.

Tashi Liem, who recited the poem “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara, won the honor of 2023 Santa Cruz County Poetry Out Loud Champion. Tashi, a senior at Santa Cruz High whose pronouns are they/them, advances to the statewide competition scheduled virtually March 19-20. The California champion will then advance to the national competition set for May 8-10.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation program for high school students created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage through classical and contemporary poetry. It is a recitation event, meaning students study poetry from an anthology and select a poem to recite.

Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations in every state.