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youth poet laureate-let's have one in Westchester

I would like to propose that Greenburgh and Westchester County follow the example of NYC and create a Youth Poet Laureate position. On January 1st, Youth Poet Laureate Ramya Ramana read a winning poem at the inauguration of NYC’s 109th Mayor, Bill de Blasio.  Ramya read her poem “It’s Not Your Problem”, a poem she composed for the voting themed spoken word competition hosted by Urban World NYC and held at Lincoln Center in October.  Ramana is a student at St. John’s University.

 

The New York City Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) program is a voting-themed teen competition designed to energize youth voters through spoken word poetry. The program is open to students, ages 16-19.  As part of the responsibilities of a Youth Poet Laureate, the winner travels the five boroughts and speaks to their peers about voting and civic engagement. The Poet Laureate also tours High Schools. And receives a book deal of their poetry.  The NYC program started in 2010.

 

Communities should encourage young people to engage in civic life. We should encourage outstanding students to pursue their dreams and to appreciate the arts and poetry. And, we should recognize the best and brightest young people by highlighting their talents.  A Youth Poet Laureate  would be a great program for Greenburgh and Westchester to have.

PAUL FEINER

Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Sterling January 04, 2014 at 03:02 PM
This is a great idea. I think we should always follow and or mmic others, whether it be NYC or whomever. We need to continue to homogenize, we've got such a great thing going in this area. Politicizing poetry, what a no brainer, isn't that what it was there for all along? And who would influence kids to vote and engage in the community more than a Youth Poet Laureate? That's so much more effective then teaching civics in schools. It worries me though, our kids are so influenced by Poets, the idea feels a little manipulative. So much attention is paid to our national Poet Laureate. This man, or woman, is totally over saturated in the media. Too many of our youth are just wasting their lives away, dreaming of one day occupying that position. And as we know, there's only room for one atop that Washington D.C. mountain. I feel the more Poet Laureate titles we can create the better. I would suggest while we're at it, why not have an under 7 Poet Laureate, or Baby Laureates. Whether they be Youth Poet Laureates or my proposal of Baby or Pee Wee Poet Laureate, let's keep in mind to never judge our young poets. There are no winners in poetry, quite literally. All of our Youth Poet Laureates should get Youth Poet Laureate ribbons, or maybe, and I'm just riffing off the top of my head here, Poet Laureate caps or beanies, or t-shirts that read, "A Poet Made Me Voet!" For as we all know everyone is a poet, all of our children are talented. Especially those in Hastings. My only concern is how to manage a program such as this. I worry though about the throngs of young Poet Laureates that we might have to turn away. But I guess we could offer some sort of lottery, whatever, it's a quality problem. What a special time we live in, huh Paul. The artistry of our people is just growing in leaps and bounds. We see it everywhere, in film, music, theater, dance, and of course poetry. Astaire, Sinatra, Arthur Miller, they were but placeholders for today's artists and of course poets. Great idea Town Supervisor Feiner. Keep your eye peeled for what other cities are doing and let's keep playing follow the leader in 2014.

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