POETRY OUT LOUD 2021
Honorable mention goes to Marie Bidstrup (not pictured), this year's
2021 Poetry Out Loud School Finals Level runner-up!
Congratulations to our School Finals Level Finalist, Jiboni Gloistein!
Claire Blotter, the Marin Poetry Out Loud Coach and Liaison, performs poetry with body percussion and movement. She has published three poetry chapbooks and received numerous grants for poetry, theater and video. She taught performance poetry at San Francisco State University, Dominican University, John F. Kennedy University and the College of Marin and represented San Francisco in National Performance Poetry Slams in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. She was a 2018 Finalist for the Colorado Fischer Poetry Prize and the judge for the 2020 contest. As a California Poet in the Schools she also teaches poetry writing to Marin elementary and high school students.
Lauren Howard is a middle school English language arts teacher at Bridge the Gap College Prep in Marin City, where she frequently centers her lessons around poetry and spoken word. Lauren has served on the Marin County Cultural Services Commission since 2018 and is a representative on the Poet Laureate Committee. She volunteers at the Marin Poetry Center providing outreach for the 2021 High School Contest and Anthology. Her own poems have appeared in Transformation, Marin Poetry Center Anthology 2020, and the 2019 Community of Writers anthology Written Here. She and her family live in Kentfield.
Vicki Pedersen is an attorney, business owner and lover of words. She’s served on the Board of Director for numerous non-profit and for-profit organizations, including the Marin Cultural Association, for which she’s the current Chair. Her interest in poetry is lifelong, and has been nurtured by an engaged community of local writers, and the insightful instruction of Tom Centolella at College of Marin.
Meryl Natchez’ fourth book, Catwalk, is newly released from Longship Press, and recently received a Kirkus Reviews Indie Best Book 2020 award. A lifelong writer and lover of poetry, her work has appeared in LA Review of Books, Hudson Review, Poetry Northwest, Literary Matters, The American Journal of Poetry, ZYZZYVA, The Pinch Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Lyric, The Moth, Comstock Review, and many others. She is on the board of Marin Poetry Center and blogs at www.merylnatchez.com
Maxine Flasher-Düzgünes is a choreographer, writer, and filmmaker from Mill Valley, CA and recent graduate of NYU Tisch with a BFA in Dance and a minor in English. She is proud to have interned at Poets House NY and performed at Bowery Poetry during her time on the East Coast, and now serves on the board at Marin Poetry Center and as a guest editor for FastForward Magazine. Her first YA novella, through Eileen, was published in 2020 with VerbalEyze Press. Maxine is the recipient of the Rubin Prize for Poetry and has poems, scores, and essays featured in Dance Art Journal, samfiftyfour literary, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Gallatin Review, Literary Yard, inbtwn. mag, and Red Cedar Review. Her current project, strikethrough is a digital platform where poets can generate choreographic scores for dancers - it is currently being exhibited at the Museum of Wild & Newfangled Art.
LeShawn Darnell Holcomb is an educator and artist living in Marin City, CA. He teaches Middle School English Language Arts and Social Studies at Bayside Martin Luther King and sixth-grade scholars at Bridge the Gap College Prep. He pushes students to their full ability in those spaces, as he encourages them to learn through a cultural and artistic lense.
Holcomb holds a Master's in Education from the University of San Francisco in Urban Education and Social Justice and a Bachelor's Degree from California State University Fullerton in Humanities and Afro-Ethnic Studies. Holcomb is the Executive Artistic Director of The Griot Theater Company in Marin City. He has worked with The African American Shakespeare Company, Marin Theater Company, and Actors Theater of Louisville. His plays have been produced and performed at theaters in California, New York, Washington D.C., Arizona, Utah, and Michigan. Holcomb wishes to continue to write for the stage. More specifically, he hopes to write with youth, where he gets the opportunity to foster and nurture young new voices.