Youth Poet Laureate Icon

Youth Poet Laureate

Honoring young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement.

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.

Blood Melody by Angel Gardner, 2016/17 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, is the poetry collection that Sherman Alexie calls “amazing.” It’s now available for purchase through Penmanship Books.

Watch 2016/17 Youth Poet Laureate, Angel Gardner, read two original poems to open a committee meeting at City Hall.

An interview with Emrys Foster, 2016 Youth Poet Laureate, on celebrating their identity and sharing their motivations for writing. Part of Alaska Beyond Magazine’s “Kids Who Inspire” series (pg. 65-67).

The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools and Urban Word NYC. Founded in Seattle in 2015 by writers Matt Gano and Aaron Counts, the YPL program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity, and education.

The Youth Poet Laureate not only has numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voice, their leadership, and love of Seattle at events throughout the region over the course of the year, but also publishes a collection of poems that is released in May when the next Youth Poet Laureate is announced.

The collections of former Youth Poet Laureates are available to order from 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 Angel Gardner

Forget teenage Poet Laureate, just Poet Laureate. It’s such advanced use of language. I am in awe that she’s this young, messing with language like this. It’s incredible.

— Sherman Alexie, on 2015/16 Youth Poet Laureate Leija Farr

Ways to Get Involved

For Students

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 2018/19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate? Applications for this year’s Youth Poet Laureate will be open March 24-April 24, 2018.

A group of esteemed judges will choose 8 finalists, and will select one teen to be honored with the title of Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. A runner-up will also be named as Youth Poet Ambassador at the Commencement Performance, Memorial Day weekend at the Northwest Folklife Festival at The Seattle Center. Winners and finalists will be notified by the end of April.

Click on the link below to learn more about contest rules and how to apply.

Applications may be emailed to seattleypl@gmail.com or mailed to:

Seattle Youth Poet Laureate
C/O Writers in the Schools
340 15th Ave E, Suite 301
Seattle, WA 98112

2017 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Information & Submission Guidelines

For Teachers

Know a star poet, rapper, or leader who you think would be a fantastic fit for the title of 2018/19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate? Applications for this year’s Youth Poet Laureate will be open March 24 – April 24, 2018.

Click on the link below to learn more about contest rules and how to help your teen apply.

Applications may be emailed to seattleypl@gmail.com or mailed to:

Seattle Youth Poet Laureate
C/O Writers in the Schools
340 15th Ave E, Suite 301
Seattle, WA 98112

2017 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Information & Submission Guidelines

For Community Members

Interested in inviting the Youth Poet Laureate to speak at your event? Fill out the Speaker Request Form, and email: wits@lectures.org to be connected.

To connect with current or past Youth Poet Laureates, email wits@lectures.org.

Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Leaders

Lily Baumgart

2017/18 Youth Poet Laureate

Namaka Auwae-Dekker

2017 Youth Poet Ambassador

Angel Gardner

2016/17 Youth Poet Laureate

Emrys Foster

2016/17 Youth Poet Ambassador

Leija Farr

2015/16 Youth Poet Laureate