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Kids Express Themselves at Poetry Contest

April 10, 1998|BRENDA LOREE

Like many a writer, 13-year-old Evita Ciezarek of Camarillo believes in sticking to her craft and never giving up.

Although she started writing poetry at age 6, it took seven long years for her to enter and win her first poetry contest.

Evita, along with 14 other young poets, read her work on Kids' Poetry Night on Wednesday during the weeklong fifth annual Ventura Poetry Festival, which concludes Saturday.

"I've written 66 poems," said Evita, a student at Monte Vista Intermediate School. "I've always wanted to get them published, so I got involved in poetry contests. For me, it's the satisfaction of having people know my feelings."

Kate Sohasky, a Mound Elementary School fifth-grader, was also a winner.

"I wrote a book of poetry for my grandparents," the 11-year-old Ventura pupil said, "but it wasn't really my best poetry. The poem I read at the festival was the first poem I put real effort into."

Eighth-grader Talia Savren, a student at Cabrillo Middle School in Ventura, is a two-time winner in the festival. Talia, who first won as a fourth-grader, was 3 years old when she dictated her first poem to her mother.

"I like to write it and read it just for myself," said 13-year-old Talia. "It's a good way to express my feelings. It's where I let my emotions out."

Nine-year-old Brittany Nunes, a Fillmore Christian Academy third-grader, began writing poetry at age 8.

"We had a poetry contest at my school," Brittany said. "I won first place in it. I think poetry is just fun to write."

Other Kids' Poetry Night winners include Andy Bennett, Emily Vizzo, Sierra Franco and Dallas Woodburn of Ventura; T.J. Bernstein of Thousand Oaks; Bethany Estrada of Newbury Park; Roxann Valentine and Celiaflor Genavia of Oxnard; and Jasmine O'Reilly of Arleta.

Ventura poet Phil Taggart, author of the book "Opium Wars," judged the Kids' Poetry Night poems.

But the Ventura Poetry Festival, begun by poet Jackson Wheeler five years ago with a grant from the city of Ventura, is not just for children.

At tonight's event, Marsha De La O will be a featured reader at 7 p.m. at the Ventura Bookstore.

Eloise Klein Healy, the grand prize winner of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, will wrap up the festival Saturday night by reading from her work at the Daily Grind in downtown Ventura.

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