Knoxville Writer’s Guild is pleased to facilitate the Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate program through funding provided by the Jonathan Taylor Memorial Fund, created by his colleagues at the Education Networks of America.
The Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, diversity and tolerance, and youth voice across the city of Knoxville. 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.

The program seeks to elevate youth voice at major civic events. In addition, KWG wants to promote the importance of having youth perspective represented in civic dialogue. Teens are uniquely positioned to remind us of our commitments to our children, to our future, and to our shared ideals.

The selection process begins with a written application in January of each year with the final selection occurring during National Poetry Month with a city-wide poetry event.


APPLY TODAY

Students ages 13-19 who live in the City of Knoxville are eligible for consideration. Applications are due Friday, February 18, 2022 at 11:59 PM CT.

Applicants who advance will perform at a semifinal round on Saturday, March 12 at 4pm. 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 using this online form. 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 attach to info@knoxvillewritersguild.org with YPL in the subject line.
  • 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 February 18 and the State of the Word in April.
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