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Houston’s Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate Competition Announced

Submitted by Writers in the Schools (WITS) and the Houston Public Library

YPL-HOUSTON-LOGO-Color-300x300Writers in the Schools and Houston Public Library call on area teen poets, spoken word artists, emcees; winner to represent Houston and receive book deal.

Writers in the Schools (WITS) and the Houston Public Library, in partnership with Urban Word NYC, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, and PEN Center USA, and with support from Penmanship Books, have launched a city-wide competition to select Houston’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate. The call is open to all writers ages 14-19 committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity and education across Houston.

“Writers in the Schools and our partners recognize that providing a platform for youth voice is vital for empowering young people to effect positive changes in their communities and beyond,” said Robin Reagler, executive director of Writers in the Schools. “Fostering a love of reading and writing is our mission, and we are eager to hear the exceptional talents of those youth vying to be a voice for our city.”  

The Houston Youth Poet Laureate, operating in tandem with the Houston Poet Laureate Dr. Robin Davidson, will have numerous opportunities to share his or her powerful voice, leadership and love of Houston at many events throughout the city and state. Additionally, the selected honoree will receive a book deal from Penmanship Books to publish a collection of poems; a library tour and multiple speaking engagements; a mentorship from Dr. Davidson; and a tablet PC.

The theme of the 2015 competition is “Houston.” WITS and the Houston Public Library are accepting submissions now through Oct. 4 at witshouston.org/poet-laureate. An esteemed judging panel will choose five finalists with whom they will conduct interviews on Oct. 18. The winner will be honored as the city’s inaugural Youth Poet Laureate at the Writers in the Schools “Celebration of Story” gala on Nov. 12.

Contest Rules

  1. Submit five (5) original poems. One of the poems must speak to the theme of Houston. One may be a performance with a YouTube link. Topics strongly suggested and encouraged are: civic and community engagement, activism, and issues that really matter to you.
  2. Submit a Resume/CV detailing school accomplishments, community work, and artistic and personal accomplishments. Free resume workshops will be provided by the Houston Public Library and Writers in the Schools. Visit witshouston.org/poet-laureate for dates.
  3. Submit a statement of intent.

To view a complete list of rules and to apply online, visit witshouston.org/poet-laureate by Oct. 4 at 11:59 p.m.

About Writers in the Schools

WITS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. WITS is the largest literary arts organization in Texas and the leader of the national WITS Alliance network of 32 organizations. WITS writers work in year-long programs in more than 350 classrooms helping students and teachers develop their creative and analytical thinking skills. Learn about our school and community writing programs, summer camps, or sign up for our blog at www.witshouston.org.

About Houston Public Library

The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, four HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. With more than eight million visits per year in person and online, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7.

For further information visit the Houston Public Library at www.houstonlibrary.org, on Twitter @houstonlibrary or call 832-393-1313.

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