The YPL program aims to identify young student writers who are committed to civic and community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and youth voice across Knoxville. Students ages 13-19 who live or attend school in Knoxville, TN are eligible for consideration. Applications are due Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 11:59 PM CT.

Applicants who advance will perform at a semifinal round on Sunday, March 19 at 6pm on Zoom. The top three finalists will perform at Knoxville National Poetry Month Celebration in April, where one youth will be honored with the title of Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate.

The Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of the Office of the Mayor, Knoxville Writer’s Guild, and Knoxville Arts & Culture Alliance, in partnership with Urban Word, and supported by the PEN Center USA, and the Academy of American Poets.

To Apply:

  • Applicants must be a City of Knoxville resident and between the ages of 13 – 19 years old.
  • Submit 3 original poems/raps/performances as word documents or video links. At least one of the submissions must address the themes of Human Relations, Diversity, and Positive Social Change.
  • Include a RESUME that has your name, address, phone #, and e-mail; and details all of your accomplishments, community service, after school programs, volunteer experiences, and awards.
  • Please EMAIL any documents you are unable to upload to
  • To ensure a range of applicants, only two poets from a school will be permitted to participate in the semifinals and only one poet per school will participate in the finals.
  • If selected, you must be available to perform at the semifinals on March 19 and the April National Poetry Month Celebration.

Submit your applications here: