YPLflyerThe Houston Youth Poet Laureate program is a new, joint initiative of Writers in the Schools, the Houston Public Library, the City of Houston, and Mayor Annise Parker, with support from Urban Word NYC, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, PEN Center USA, and Penmanship Books. The Houston Youth Poet Laureate program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, human relations, diversity, and education across Houston. Youth voice and community engagement are vital for empowering young people to effect positive change. The Houston Youth Poet Laureate will have numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voices, their leadership, and love of Houston.


  • Prestigious title of Houston Youth Poet Laureate
  • Book deal from Penmanship Books to publish a collection of poems
  • Library tour and multiple speaking engagements, including Public Poetry and Word Around Town Poetry Tour showcase
  • Mentorship from the Houston Poet Laureate
  • Tablet PC
  • The winning poet will also receive a bi-monthly ScatterRadio podcast entitled “State of the Word” where s/he shares their poetry and insights into poetry and civic engagement and discourse. All finalists will receive a ScatterRadio channel to post poems and champion your powerful voice.

Rules + Process

    • Applicants must reside in Houston, TX.
    • Applicants must be between the ages of 14-19 years old by application deadline.
    • Applications must be submitted online by Sunday, October 4, 2015, at 11:59pm.
    • A group of esteemed judges will choose five finalists who will take part in an interview on Sunday, October 18. The winner will be showcased at the WITS Celebration of Story gala on November 12.

How to Apply

    Thank you for your interest in the Youth Poet Laureate Program. The competition is now CLOSED. We will announce the first-ever Houston Youth Poet Laureate soon! If you missed the deadline, we hope you will stay in-touch and consider applying next year.