The National Youth Poet Laureate Competition

The National Youth Poet Laureate Competition is an initiative of Urban Word, in collaboration with local youth literary arts organizations across the country; and championed by the leading national literary and arts organizations, including the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities, the Library of Congress, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, PEN Center USA, and Cave Canem. Our program identifies powerful youth poets that have a history of artistic success, civic and community engagement, social justice, and youth leadership. Over 30 partner cities are participating in our national network of Youth Poet Laureates and have the opportunity to submit to the National Youth Poet Laureate Competition.

How Does It Work?

The National Youth Poet Laureate Nominations will be open FALL 2019. There will be five Youth Poet Laureates chosen, one from each region in the nation, selected by a panel of three judges representing that region. All nominations will be judged using the same rubric and candidates with the highest numbers ranked will be chosen to represent that region. Each organization is allowed to submit as many Youth Poet Laureates that still fit into the qualifying age group 13-19. The candidate must have held the Youth Poet Laureate title in their city to apply. The selections for the National Youth Poet Laureate Competition will be made IN January 2019. Each National Laureate Finalist will have a total of three traveling performance engagements including the National Youth Poet Laureate commencement in April 2020.

How To Submit?

Please apply directly to your region by clicking on the appropriate button below. Prepare to submit demographic and contact information about poet and organization, 5 poems in one document, CV, biography and photo of poet, as well as an essay on the topic “How Can Poetry Inspire Change?” Please contact National Youth Poet Laureate Director Dr.Camea Davis at with any questions or concerns.