The Nashville Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of the Office of the Mayor, Southern Word, Metro Human Relations Commission, Nashville Public Library, Metro Arts, in partnership with Urban Word, and supported by the PEN Center USA, Academy of American Poets, and Nashville Public Library Foundation. The Nashville Youth Poet Laureate program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and youth voice across Nashville.
This fall, Nashville will accept submissions from young poets, emcees, writers, and leaders ages 13-19 from across Nashville who are interested in representing Nashville as the Nashville Youth Poet Laureate. Three finalists will be offered the opportunity to perform at State of the Word in December. One youth will be honored with the title of Nashville Youth Poet Laureate.
The Nashville Youth Poet Laureate will have opportunities to share their powerful voice, their leadership, and love of Nashville at numerous events across the city. The organizational supporters of this program recognize that youth voice and community engagement are vital for empowering young people to effect positive changes in their communities and beyond.
As part of the Nashville YPL selection process, applicants have an opportunity to submit any poetic response to Colson Whitehead’s writing that is no more than 90 seconds when presented out loud. The piece will be performed before two-time Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Colson Whitehead speaks for the Nashville Public Library Foundation’s Public Lecture at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet at 10am on Saturday, November 13th as part of Nashville Reads. More details are provided at the end of the application for youth interested.
As part of your application, you must submit 3 original poems. Submit at least one poem that speaks to the themes of Human Relations, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, or Positive Social Change. You may copy and paste each poem using the text boxes provided or provide YouTube links.