Students, what matters most to you in our world today?
Virginia needs your voice! ~
Show us in your poems; and send us your vision for how to use poetry to build a better world and work creatively with others— Apply to represent your region as a Young Poet in the Community!
Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria invites applications from young poets throughout Virginia at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college undergraduate level. Along with panelists from the Poetry Society of Virginia, she will review applications and select 5 Young Poets in the Community (1 elementary school, 1 middle school, 2 high school and 1 college undergraduate student) in each of the 6 Poetry Society of Virginia regions (Southeastern, Eastern, Northern, Northwestern, Central, North Central).
What should aspiring Young Poets in the Community submit, and when?
On or before 15 October 2021, Young Poets in the Community applicants
will submit a complete application consisting of::
* An entry form including school and personal contact information and the name
and signature of an identified mentor willing to work with/advise
the young poet on their public poetry project
* 2-3 poems (their best or most representative work)
* A short bio and statement written in the third person, describing
how they see poetry to be a tool for social change
* A short description no longer than 2 paragraphs describing the Young Poets
in the Community applicant’s proposal for a poetry project with a public aspect,
highlighting poetry’s role in their community and as a means for strengthening
social engagement and emotional well-being. The proposal should include
a timeline and a target date for completion (between 1 December 2021
and 30 June 2022).
How will Young Poets in the Community be selected?
Young Poets will be selected for the relevance and quality of their poems and/or their performance presence. In addition, applicants must propose a project which they can carry out during the award year (or from Deceber 2021 - June 2022), The project should specifically help enhance awareness and appreciation of poetry and its role as a tool for social change, community/civic engagement, and emotional well-being in their immediate community. Communities may include the Young Poets' schools but may also reach beyond that. The project doesn't have to be grand or large-scale— but it must invite the participation of others, using poetry as central medium.
Each selected Young Poet in the Community will work closely with a teacher/mentor from their school or a specifically identified community member, to carry out their proposed poetry project before the end of the 2021-22 school year. The mentor may be a teacher, a relative, a friend, a local artist or writer, or someone you respect in the community.
The selection panel reserves the right not to give an award in a particular region if submissions are low. We hope to select Young Poets in the Community from each region, as long as entries fulfill our requirements.
What comes with being selected as a Young Poet in the Community for your region?
5 Young Poets in the Community will be selected in each of the 6 Poetry Society of Virginia Regions. We hope to select a total of 30 Virginia Young Poets in the Community. They will receive cash awards, along with a certificate of recognition.
From each PSV Region:
1 Elementary School poet $ 100.00
1 Middle School poet $ 150.00
2 High School poets $ 200.00 each
1 College poet $ 300.00
Young Poets in the Community will also be invited to participate in virtual conversation/reading programs with the Virginia Poet Laureate to highlight their winning project proposals and contribute to their growth as young poets.
Here are just a few examples/ideas for public poetry projects--
(Note: IF you think the project you want to do might require some materials other than what you already own or have access to, along with others in the community you'll be working with, brainstorm on how to keep any costs to a minimum or how to work with other groups on some creative exchange.)
Start/propose a regular poetry page in your school newsletter, in your community newspaper, and other similar local publications.
Organize classmates in your school and write a group poem on a theme of social relevance or emotional well-being, and brainstorm on how to creatively carry it out (for example, some poets in other counties nationwide did things like write a group poem, 2 lines per person, and then videotape themselves reading the entire poem put together). Find out how to disseminate to a wider audience - perhaps get in touch with your local radio or TV station?
Gather friends/classmates (ex: all or select grade levels in your school) and organize a poetry writing and distribution project — for instance, everyone can write a poetry postcard or letter, based on a common theme. Select a theme or themes to assign to each group; each participant can pick someone to mail it to in their county, town, or city (you can look in the phone book). You might want to contact your local radio or TV or media outlets to help you publicize what you are doing and what you hope to achieve.
Organize a poetry reading program in your school or in your community around a theme related to community and individual care and social/emotional engagement; for example, partner with a local climate/other environmental agency or the zoo or a hydroponics farm or a group interested in clean water, clean food, or food sovereignty and ask them to give a talk/tour to you and participating poets who will then write poems from that encounter and publicize their outcomes in some way
Write poetry postcards around a common concern, with invited participants from your community; document (take photos of the postcards and the poems) before actually mailing them to a public official or someone who might be in a position to carry the dialogue on this concern farther or raise it to higher visibility.
Talk to a community organization to see if they might be interested in sponsoring an art+poetry mural in your community; organize and invite other poets and artists in your community to participate.
Create a poetry podcast or conversation project through your school, and invite (a) well-known poet(s) to have a conversation or workshop with you and other students. Choose a theme with public significance.
Write and share poetry in informal workshops or programs with elders, veterans, and other groups within your community; or collect their stories, and turn them into poems.
1 July 2021 Program Launch
15 October Deadline for Entries
30 November Announcement of Young Poets in the Community selections
1 December 2021 to end of academic school year 2022:
Young Poets in the Community will carry out their projects (with a mentor, and with documentation).
This program is a Poet Laureate Fellowship Project of Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria.
For further information, please write to this email address.
This program is made possible by the
Academy of American Poets with support
from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation;
and the Poetry Society of Virginia