This year’s first place winner in the annual poetry recitation contest is Millie Newlove (left), second place Cat McHugh (right) and third place  Xander McGill (center). Photo by Meg Upton

Quincy High School Senior wins Poetry Out Loud competition

By Meg Upton

   Quincy Junior Senior High School senior Millie Newlove won this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition, which took place Sunday morning, Jan. 30, at Plumas Arts Gallery. She recited the poem “Diameter” by Michelle Y. Burke.

   The judges stated they were really touched by her delivery and one was moved to tears. Newlove, who participated last year, was determined to do better; nerves having got the best of her the previous year.

   The winner receives a $500 prize and the chance to represent Plumas County at the state level in March 2022 in the virtual competition. Newlove, citing a hectic schedule from now until graduation, (she starts basic training in the Air Force in June), has acquiesced representing the county in the statewide competition. That privilege will go to the second place winner Cat McHugh, a junior from Chester Junior Senior High School.


   This is McHugh’s third time in the competition. She won second place this year for her recitation of “Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. She will represent Plumas County in the statewide competition performing her winning poem, along with two other poems, one having been written before the 20th century. She will receive $300 in prize money. Of particular note in her performance was the nuance of enjambment in her delivery and how her interpretation made judges feel she really ‘got’ the poem.

   Third place winner is Xander McGill, a freshmen at Plumas Charter School. He also performed “Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Judges noted that his gestures and enthusiasm really came across in his rendition of the poem. He will receive $200 for his third place win.

   Plumas Arts will host recordings of the winning poetry recitals on its facebook page in the coming days.

   Poetry Out Loud is managed and funded by California Arts Council and funded partially by the National Endowment of the Arts and sponsored in part by the national Poetry Foundation and their educational endowment. The California Arts Council partners with local arts organizations to do outreach and to host the competition annually.


   Plumas Arts has held the competition for six years at the end of January in the Plumas Arts Gallery and invites all high school students in the county to participate. This year, the Plumas Poetry Out Loud competition was able to offer $1,000 worth of cash prizes to the winners of the contest.

   Plumas County high schools who participated this year were Plumas Charter School in Quincy, Quincy Junior Senior High School, Chester Junior Senior High School, and Long Valley Charter School in Portola.

   A QHS student has won the competition for the past three years and four out of six years the competition has been in the county.

   The statewide competition will be held virtually on March 6 and 7.