Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman connected to NYC-based program that encourages writing and leadership

Local News

NEW YORK — At Presidential Inaugurations, words matter and the world is listening.

Amanda Gorman’s six-minute poem connected with leaders in the audience and people everywhere. She’s from Los Angeles and was the 2017 Youth Poet Laureate.

At 22 years of age, she was the youngest inaugural poet.

The youth program has its roots in New York City at Urban Word NYC.

More than 60 cities across the country have partnered in the project that offers mentorships and workshops.

Serena Yang is the 2021 NYC Poet Laureate. She and her family moved from China to Eastern Queens when she was 6 years old.

“I don’t think poetry alone can save the world. People put a lot of weight on just words. We have to work and everyone has to do their own work to set us free and to take us towards a better world,” Yang said.

She will be working the NYC Votes to create campaigns that will serve as a call to action for younger voters.

The New York City Youth Poet Laureate Program says it works to identify young writers and leaders “committed to creating change through civic engagement and poetic excellence.”

Shanelle Gabriel is the interim director of Urban Word NYC.

Age is not a limit to brilliance. We believe that as an organization and support that in the work that we do,” Gabriel said.

In March, Urban Word NYC will hold the annual youth poetry competition. It will be online this year, as are many of its seminars and programs.

Urban Word NYC created the youth program in 2008.

Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 in a ceremony at Gracie Mansion.

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