I met with high school poet laureate, Maggie Yang, who is presently in grade ten at York House School. We met on January 22 and she told me about York House’s poet laureate selection process and program which has been running for a few years. (There is an open call within the school. Applicants submit a poem on a selected topic. Faculty decide on the best candidate before the end of the school year. The new poet laureate commences her/their term at the start of the following school year. Laureates are expected to write and read poems at assemblies and other special school events, as well as initiate other projects.)
This past September, Maggie led a Truth & Reconciliation event at her school to write in response to poems by Indigenous poets, and will leading another initiative in April for Poetry Month. She edits a beautiful literary magazine, Pluvia, and leads a creative writing club. She tells me she’s really enjoying reading US youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman’s debut collection, Call Us What We Carry .
I’m looking forward to doing more brainstorming with Maggie in the months ahead, and visiting her Pen & Book writing club.
If any high school students or teachers are interested in discussing a poet laureate program in their school, please send me an email!