Honoring young writers and leaders committed to civic and community engagement.
Are you Seattle's next Youth Poet Laureate?
Calling all poets, spoken word artists, emcees, and writers: applications for the 2019 Youth Poet Laureate program are now open. Win a chance to represent Seattle, a book deal, and opportunities to perform and tour the city.
Congratulations to Azura Mizan Tyabji, the 2018/19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate! Azura and the 2018/19 YPL Ambassadors, Emrys Foster and Kiyoshi Sakauye, have been representing the city at cultural events held throughout the year.
Watch current Youth Poet Laureate, Azura Mizan Tyabji, discuss the ethics of social media activism on The Poetry Vlog with Chelsea R. Grimmer.
Watch the PBS NewsHour presentation on Washington State Poet Laureate, Claudia Castro Luna’s “Poetic Grid” Project, including a video performance from 2017-18 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, Lily Baumgart.
The Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) program is a joint program of SAL’s Writers in the Schools and Urban Word NYC. Founded in Seattle in 2015 by writers Matt Gano and Aaron Counts, YPL aims to identify young writers committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity, and education.
Youth Poet Laureates have numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voices, their leadership, and love of Seattle at regional events throughout the course of the year. They also publish a poetry collection, released in May by Poetry NW Editions, when the next Youth Poet Laureate is announced.
The collections of former Youth Poet Laureates are available through Penmanship Books.
To be granted this position this year has given me a louder voice, but it has also made people take me and my writing legitimately.
— Lily Baumgart, 2017/18 Youth Poet Laureate
She is a ferocious and talented 20-year-old writer. If you don’t buy her book, I will not be your friend.
— Jess Walter, on 2016/17 Youth Poet Laureate Maven Gardner
Ways to Get Involved
Attention all young poets, rappers, leaders, and activists ages 14-19 living in Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region! Are you interested in representing the city as the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate? Submissions for the 2019 Youth Poet Laureate are now open through May 1, 2019. Download the application here.
The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to poetry and performance, civic and community engagement, education and equity across the Puget Sound Region. Along with the prestigious title of Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, the winning poet will also get a book deal from local publisher Poetry Northwest to publish their first collection of poems.
The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate will have numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voice, their leadership, and love for the city at events throughout the region over the course of the following year. A group of esteemed judges chooses eight finalists from the application pool, and selects one teen to be honored with the title of Youth Poet Laureate and a runner-up Youth Poet Ambassador at the annual Commencement Performance.
Know a star poet, rapper, or leader who you think would be a fantastic fit for the title of 2019 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate? Submissions for the 2019/20 Youth Poet Laureate are now open through May 1, 2019. Download the application here.