on poetry

March 7, 2023

Words matter, for
Language is an ark.
Language is an art,
An articulate artifact.
Language is a life craft.
Language is a life raft.
Amanda Gorman
(b. March 7, 1998)

. . . . .
photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith
Quote excerpted from “What We Carry” in Call Us What We Carry: Poems


May 31, 2022

National Youth Poet Laureate Alyssa Gaines

Urban Word, the founding organization of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, has announced that Alyssa Gaines has been selected as the 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate (NYPL). The four finalists were chosen from a field of more than 65 Youth Poets Laureate from across the United States. All of the poets were judged on their artistic excellence, as well as their commitment to civic engagement, youth leadership, and social impact.

The Midwest Regional Finalist and the first-ever Indianapolis Youth Poet Laureate, Gaines’s work has been featured in Scholastic’s “Best Teen Writing,” the Indianapolis Recorder, and was published by Teach for America. A recent high school graduate, she has performed in numerous theater productions and was the captain of the lacrosse team.

As the 6th NYPL, Alyssa Gaines follows Alexandra Huynh (2021), Meera Dasgupta (2020), Kara Jackson (2019), Patricia Frazier (2018), and Amanda Gorman (2017). Read an interview with Alyssa Gaines in The Indianapolis Review.

Founded in New York City in 2008, the Youth Poet Laureate Program partners with local and national literary arts organizations across the country to elevate youth voices at the forefront of social change.

Congratulations to Alexandra Huynh, who has been selected as 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate. She has big shoes to fill, following, among others, Amanda Gorman, who served as the inaugural NYPL, in 2017.

Supported by the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Parks Service, Cave Canem, and many more organizations, the National Youth Poet Laureate program works with local youth literary arts organizations across the United States to identify and celebrate exceptional youth poets who use their voice to inspire change.

A Sacramento, California, native and first-year student at Stanford University, Alexandra Huynh competed with three other regional finalists for the NYPL position. Learn more about her in The Sacramento Bee.

new poetry

January 23, 2021

Newly published poetry books are on the shelves, and with in-person launches still unavailable, poets hope you’ll find your way to their titles and help spread the word. Here are some recommended new releases for early 2021:

These selections are, of course, in addition to the book that’s on the top of everyone’s list right now: The Hill We Climb and Other Poems by Amanda Gorman.

a poet for tomorrow

January 19, 2021

The first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, Amanda Gorman will stand before the nation and the world tomorrow, January 20, 2021, to read her poem “The Hill We Climb.”

Read more about her in The New York Times and The Guardian. Gorman plans to run for President in 2036. As reported in The Guardian: “I’m going to tell Biden that I’ll be back.”

The first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, Amanda Gorman, strolls through the currently closed Los Angeles Central Public Library to share a powerful poem of hope. Watch her on CBS This Morning and visit the poet’s website to see her impressive accomplishments.

. . . . .
thanks to Holly Harris and Luther Allen for the suggestion

vital voices

September 19, 2017

Somehow, it escaped our notice that the U.S. now has a National Youth Poet Laureate. Spearheaded by the New York City youth literary arts organization Urban Word, the National Youth Poet Laureate program was founded in 2008 and has partnered with literary organizations in 35 cities (including Seattle and Portland) and states to name a local Youth Poet Laureate. Each winner is awarded a first book deal from Penmanship Books.

In this new phase of the program, to appoint a national winner, competitors from around the country were narrowed down to five finalists, each representing a geographic region. From the five ambassadors, Harvard sophomore Amanda Gorman was selected as the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

Ms. Gorman is the inaugural Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and founder and Executive Director of One Pen One Page, a nonprofit that promotes literacy and leadership through international storytelling initiatives and an online teen‐lit mag. She has served as a United Nations Youth Delegate in New York City, an ANNpower Vital Voices Fellow in Washington, D.C, and an ANNpower Vital Voices Global Delegate in London. She is an ambassador, editor, and leader of diversity initiatives at the online platform School of Doodle, and her work has been published in her book The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough, as well as The Wall Street Journal, Elle, and The Huffington Post.

Watch Amanda Gorman perform her poem “The Gathering Place” at the Social Good Summit 2017.

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