This April 2023, we'll be announcing the name of the first ever New York State Youth Poet Laureate!

In April 2023, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, in partnership with Urban Word, will announce the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate for New York State.

The Youth Laureate will be selected by a panel of the following distinguished poets.

Willie Perdomo

Willie Perdomo is a native of East Harlem.  His books are love letters to Cane, Enter the Dragon, and Cooley High. He is the author of Smoking Lovely: The RemixThe Crazy BunchThe Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, and Where a Nickel Costs of Dime.  Winner of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, the New York City Book Award, and a PEN Open Book Award, Perdomo was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. He is co-editor of the anthology, Latínext, and his work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, African Voices, and Best American Poetry 2019.  He teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy and was recently appointed State Poet of New York, 2021-2023.

Georgia Popoff

Georgia A. Popoff is a writer, editor, arts-in-education specialist, and Workshops Coordinator for the YMCA of Central NY’s Downtown Writers Center, where she teaches poetry and creative nonfiction. Her fourth collection of poetry, Psychometry, was released in late 2019 by Tiger Bark Press, and was a finalist for Utica College’s Eugene Nassar Poetry Prize and the CNY Book Award for Poetry. Georgia was recently named Poet Laureate of Onondaga County for a 2-year term of service and was appointed editor for the University of Michigan Press book series on contemporary poets, Under Discussion, in 2022.

Trace Howard DePass

Trace Howard DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books, 2018), which was a finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and the editor of Scholastic’s Best Teen Writing of 2017. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on television and radio—BET Next LevelBillboardBlavityPoetry FoundationOurs Poetica, and NPR’s The Takeaway—and in print— SAND JournalEntropy MagazineSonora ReviewSplit This RockThe Poetry Project, Bettering American Poetry (Volume 3), & the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series, among other publications. DePass is a Poetry Foundation, Teaching Artist Project, & Poets House Fellow.

Are you a young poet between the ages of 13-19?

Are you interested in finding new ways to be a leader in your community?

The New York State (NYS) Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders committed to creating change through civic engagement and poetic excellence. In Spring 2023, T&W is partnering with Urban Word to name the first New York State (NYS) Youth Poet Laureate.

Along with the official title and a cash prize of $500, the NYS Youth Poet Laureate gets both high-level performance and learning opportunities and the chance to apply to be the National Youth Poet Laureate. They will join a community of other talented young poets, including Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate (2017), who read her poetry at the 2021 Presidential inauguration!


February 2023

The application period is February 1-28, 2023. Check this page again in February for a link to the submission form.  


April 2023

The top 10 submissions will be reviewed by a panel of distinguished poets and writers.  The New York State Youth Poet Laureate will be announced in April 2023. 


Fall 2023

The NYS Youth Poet Laureate will be eligible to apply to be the National Youth Poet Laureate in the fall of 2023 and each year until they turn 19.

Who is eligible to apply to be the 2023 NYS Youth Poet Laureate?

  • Anyone age 13-19 (eg. turning 19 in 2023), living in New York State


When and how can poets apply?

  • Eligible poets can apply during the month of February 2023. A link will be available on this page to submit a portfolio online.
  • Submission Materials include:
    • Contact information
    • A portfolio of  3 poems, to upload as a PDF or Word doc
    • A resume/curriculum vitae (CV) information. In order to collect the CV/resume information, there are text fields for contestants to “celebrate themselves” and enter information regarding school/extracurricular participation, community and civic engagement, awards & accolades, and more. Uploading a CV/resume document is no longer required.
    • There are also additional survey questions that will not affect the scores, but help Urban Word develop a better picture of the young people that they serve.


What can I do now to prepare for the application?

  • Work on writing, revising and polishing, so that you will have 3 finished poems by February 2023.
  • Think about the ways that you are engaged in your community: Do you volunteer? Do you lead a club at your school? Are you civically engaged in some way? These will be good things to list on your C.V. 


What does the NYS Youth Poet Laureate win?

  • During the summer of 2023, the NY Youth Poet Laureate will join other Youth Poets Laureate in a series of activities offered by Urban Word, including:
    • Online Youth Poet Laureate summer camp, including writing workshops with celebrated poets and activism training
    • Regional readings with other Youth Poets Laureate
  • In addition, the NYS Youth Poet Laureate will receive:
    • $500 cash prize and a subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine.
    • Eligibility to apply to be the National Youth Poet Laureate in Fall 2023 and each year until they turn 19.
    • The opportunity to give readings of their work once or more throughout the year, including at the New York State Poetry Out Loud final event, March 2024.


Does the NYS Youth Poet Laureate have any responsibilities?

  • The Laureate will be asked to read at the NYC Poetry Out Loud final event, March 2024, and at the announcement of the 2024 NYS Youth Poet Laureate, April 2024.  If travel is required, the expenses will be covered by Teachers & Writers Collaborative.
  • The Laureate may be asked to read at other events hosted by Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Participation in these is optional, but they will be great opportunities for the Laureate to engage with the literary arts community.

About the National Youth Poet Laureate Program

The National Youth Poet Laureate program works with local youth literary arts organizations across the United States to identify and celebrate exceptional youth poets who use their voice to inspire change

The program is an initiative of Urban Word, an award-winning youth literary arts and youth development organization in collaboration with local youth literary arts organizations across the country and championed by the leading national literary and arts organizations, including the president’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities, the Library of Congress, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, PEN Center USA, and Cave Canem.