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Youth Poet Laureate

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

Are You the Next Youth Poet Laureate?

Applications are now open for the 2018/19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate to all local teens, ages 14 to 19, who are who are committed to poetry and performance, civic and community engagement, education and equity!

Youth Poet Laureate Commencement

May 26, 2018 11:00 am

Come see the unveiling of the new 2018/19 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate and Ambassador at the Northwest Folklife Festival, where all eight youth finalists will read from their work, and the new Youth Poet Laureate will be crowned!

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 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.

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 Maven Gardner

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? WITS is now accepting applications for this year’s Youth Poet Laureate, which will be open from March 23 – April 23, 2018.

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. Seattle Arts & Lectures and our other partners recognize that youth voice and community engagement are vital for empowering young people to effect positive changes in their communities and beyond.

A group of esteemed judges will choose eight finalists from the application pool, and will select one teen to be honored with the title of Youth Poet Laureate and a runner-up Youth Poet Ambassador at the Commencement Performance, Memorial Day Weekend, at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Winners and finalists will be notified in early May.

2018 Submission Guidelines:

1. Applicants must be current residents of the Seattle region, and between the ages of 14-19 years old. (Applicants living outside the technical Seattle city borders are welcome to apply, knowing many events during the year take place in Seattle, so regular access to Seattle is requested.)

2. Submit five original poems, raps, or performances. (Optional: YouTube links to your poems.)

3. Include a resume that has your name, address, phone number, and email, as well as a detailed list of your accomplishments, community service, after school programs, volunteer experiences and awards.

4. Your entire application is due by Monday, April 23, 2018. 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

 

Click here to download the 2018/18 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 23 – April 23, 2018.

Learn more about contest rules and how to help your teen apply under the “For Students” drop-down list above this one.

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

For Community Members

Interested in inviting the current 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

2017/18 Youth Poet Ambassador

Maven Gardner

2016/17 Youth Poet Laureate

Emrys Foster

2016/17 Youth Poet Ambassador

Leija Farr

2015/16 Youth Poet Laureate