Houston’s Youth Poet Laureate Competition Application Deadline is October 9th

Writers in the Schools and Houston Public Library call on area teen poets and spoken word artists; winner will serve as voice for Houston

Writers in the Schools (WITS) and the Houston Public Library, in partnership with the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA), are hosting a city-wide competition to select Houston’s Third Youth Poet Laureate. The call is open to all writers (aged 14-19) who are committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity and education across Houston.

“This year we see the people of our city coming together to rebuild in a time of crisis,” said Robin Reagler, Executive Director of Writers in the Schools. “As we select the third Youth Poet Laureate, we hope for a unifying voice to tell Houston’s story.”

The Houston Youth Poet Laureate, serving alongside the Houston Poet Laureate, 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 publish poetry in the Houston Chronicle, receive a college scholarship, and be mentored by the Houston Poet Laureate. “Kids’ voices can be quite powerful! They have a strong desire and need to express themselves when they’re given a chance to express their ideas, to give a message of reassurance or even to help create change in the world.

Through the City of Houston’s Youth Poet Laureate Competition, they have the opportunity to communicate their thoughts and to be heard through their written words,” says Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Director of Houston Public Library. “Poetry is an art, and Houston has many young writers that want to be heard. We encourage them to participate in the competition.”

WITS and the Houston Public Library are accepting submissions until Oct. 9, 2017, at witshouston.org/poet-laureate. An esteemed judging panel will choose five finalists after conducting interviews on Oct. 30. The winner will be honored as the city’s Youth Poet Laureate at the Writers in the Schools “Many Voices | One Houston” gala on Nov. 9 at The Astorian. The Youth Poet Laureate program is supported by Urban Word NYC and the Academy of American Poets.

Contest Rules ● 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. ● Submit a Resume/CV detailing school accomplishments, community work, and artistic and personal accomplishments.

To view a complete list of rules and to apply online, visit witshouston.org/poet-laureate by Monday, October 9, 2017, at 11:59pm.

About Writers in the Schools

WITS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that engages children in the power of reading and writing. WITS is the largest literary arts organization in Texas and the leader of the national WITS Alliance network of 36 organizations. WITS writers work in year-long programs in 360 classrooms helping 38,000 students and teachers develop their creative and analytical thinking skills each year. Learn about our school and community writing programs, summer camps, or sign up for our blog at www.witshouston.org. About the City of Houston’s Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs implements the City’s Arts and Cultural Plan, ensuring the City’s investments celebrate Houston’s artists, cultures and communities with transparency, accountability, access and equity. For further information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs at www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs, on Facebook @HoustonMOCA, or email [email protected] 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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