powerful young voices

June 22, 2020

The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate program aims to identify youth writers and leaders committed to poetry, performance, civic and community engagement, education, and equity across the Puget Sound region. Seattle Arts & Lectures has posted a video gallery celebrating the achievements of 2019/20 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, Wei-Wei Lee, and the public release of her first poetry collection, In the Footsteps of a Thousand Griefs (Poetry NW Editions).

The gallery also honors the incoming 2020/21 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate cohort in a series of videos featuring 2020/21 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Bitaniya Giday; the 2020/21 Seattle Youth Poet Ambassadors Helena Goos, Nathalie M., Victor Xia; and the 2020/21 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Cohort members Sylvester Gross, Maeve Kenney, Violet Keteyian, Clarissa Perez, Lucia Santos, Connor Simon, and Hazel Windstorm.

Listen & learn.

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.

Seattle Youth Poet LaureateIf you — or someone you know — is age 14-19, a Seattle resident and a poet, applications for the next Seattle Youth Poet Laureate will be accepted through Sunday, May 1, 2016. The Youth Poet Laureate receives a book deal from Penmanship Books and performs and tours the city at a variety of events throughout the year. Find the application and program details on Seattle Arts & Lectures Writers In The Schools (WITS) page and follow the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate on Facebook.

Seattle YPLBack in April, we mentioned that Seattle was searching for its first Youth Poet Laureate. They found her!

Leija Farr, a junior at Cleveland High School, will be working with writing mentors, sharing her work at readings and completing a manuscript to be published by Penmanship Press in New York. Follow Leija Farr’s performance schedule on the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Facebook page, watch/listen to her performing her poem “Gun” at Cleveland High and read an article and interview published on The Seattle Times Education Lab blog.

Seattle YPLOakland has one. Denver has one. Vashon has two. Nashville, Los Angeles and Philadelphia each have one. So it’s about time Seattle named a Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) of its own.

A joint program of Urban Word NYC and Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program (SAL/WITS) with support from Northwest Folklife, Penmanship Books and the Academy of American Poets, Seattle YPL is now accepting applications from “young poets, rappers, leaders and activists ages 14-19 from across Seattle who are interested in representing the city as the inaugural Seattle Youth Poet Laureate.”

The winning poet will make numerous appearances over the next year and also win a book deal with Penmanship Books to publish their first collection of poems.

The application deadline is Friday, April 24, 2015. To download an informational PDF and application, see the Call for Submissions on the Seattle Arts & Lectures WITS page. Visit Seattle YPL on Facebook, too. Spread the word.

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