California Arts Council

State of California

California Poetry Out Loud LIVE: See the List for Rounds One and Two
State Finals Telecast, Webcast from the State Senate Chamber on the Cal Channel

Published: 03-23-2009

Each county contender slowly picked a number out of a hat on Sunday night. The numbers determined the order in which they would recite their poems during the state finals of the California Poetry Out Loud competition the next morning, Monday, March 23, in the state Senate chamber -- a statewide competition televised live via the Cal Channel.  Take a look at the students competing, the order for Rounds One and Two, and the poems they have chosen to recite.


1. Jessica Ronquillo (Santa Cruz County): What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why by Edna St. Vincent Millay

2. Dwight Sanders (Sacramento County): Domestic Violence by Eavan Boland

3. Bounrod Xiong (Fresno County): Why I Am Not A Painter by Frank O'Hara

4. Amber Seira (Sonoma County): Bilingual/Bilingue by Rhina P. Espaillat

5. Rachaelanne Weiss (Lake County): The Glove and the Lions by Leigh Hunt

6. Sean Peters (San Luis Obispo County): Switchblade by Michael Ryan

7. Kathy Tran (Alameda County): I Grant You Ample Leave by George Eliot

8. Samantha Carr (San Diego County): We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

9. Kara Malissa Grimes (Madera County): I Felt a Funeral in My Brain by Emily Dickinson

10. Diane Rodriguez (Contra Costa County): The Mother by Gwendolyn Brooks

11. Sylvan Arevalo (Humboldt County): A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

12. Lily Goldman (Marin County): A Song for Soweto by June Jordan

13. Kathryn Fuller (Nevada County): If by Rudyard Kipling

14. Spencer Klavan (Santa Barbara County): What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why by Edna St. Vincent Millay

15. Mikayla Murry (Tuolumne County): After Apple Picking by Robert Frost

16. May Hao (San Francisco County): Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

17. Mary Anderson (Yuba/Sutter County): A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

18. Ariana Sanchez (Ventura County): Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

19. Ani Bezirdzhyan (Los Angeles County): Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen

20. Shannon Wagner (Placer County): Barter by Sara Teasdale

21. Allegra Fisher (Mendocino County): Sonnet from the Portuguese 44: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me County the Ways by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

22. Kylie Tressa Gael Batlin (Monterey County): Theme for English B by Langston Hughes

23. Jacqueline Vietor (Riverside County): The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd by Sir Walter Ralegh

24. Rachel Palmer (Siskiyou County): A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


1. Rachaelanne Weiss (Lake County): War is Kind by Stephen Crane

2. Mary Anderson (Yuba/Sutter County): Song of the Powers by David Mason

3. Jessica Ronquillo (Santa Cruz County): The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

4. Samantha Carr (San Diego County): Shirt by Robert Pinksy

5. Rachel Palmer (Siskiyou County): The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

6. Ariana Sanchez (Ventura County): O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

7. Bounrod Xiong (Fresno County): War Is Kind by Stephen Crane

8. Amber Seira (Sonoma County): Mrs. Caldera's House of Things by Gregory Djanikian

9. Lily Goldman (Marin County): The Slave Auction by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

10. Jacqueline Vietor (Riverside County): Father's Old Blue Cardigan by Annie Carson

11. Kara Malissa Grimes (Madera County): Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

12. May Hao (San Francisco County): Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath

13. Mikayla Murry (Tuolumne County): Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath

14. Spencer Klavan (Santa Barbara County): Madmen by Billy Collins

15. Kylie Tressa Gael Batlin (Monterey County): Ma Rainey by Sterling A. Brown

16. Sean Peters (San Luis Obispo County): Confessions by Robert Browning

17. Kathryn Fuller (Nevada County): Under the Vulture Tree by David Bottoms

18. Shannon Wagner (Placer County): To the Ladies by Lady Mary Chudleigh

19. Dwight Sanders (Sacramento County): Theme From English B by Langston Hughes

20. Allegra Fisher (Mendocino County): Salome by Ai

21. Kathy Tran (Alameda County): The Strength of Fields by James Dickey

22. Diane Rodriguez (Contra Costa County): To Althea, From Prison by Richard Lovelace

23. Ani Bezirdzhyan (Los Angeles County): Ovation by Carol Muske-Dukes

24. Sylvan Arevalo (Humboldt County): We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The competition will have a third round if needed, only for the top finalists. The order for the finalists will be determined during the competition, and the poems they choose for the final round will be announced at that time. To see the list of possible Poetry Out Loud poems, go to

This year marks the fourth time the California Arts Council has produced the Poetry Out Loud competition, a contest that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition of classical and contemporary poetry -- and the first time the state finals will take place at the state Capitol on the Senate floor. The program starts at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, March 23, and is expected to finish at approximately 12:30 p.m. See the Cal Channel website ( for the cable station in your area, or to view the live webcast.

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