This voting-themed spoken word poetry competition energizes student voters — and our laureates engage their peers through performances all year long.
The New York City Youth Poet Laureate program is a voting-themed spoken word poetry competition aimed at increasing youth voter turnout by educating NYC students about their power to decide the leadership and direction of the city. Coordinated by NYC Votes and its partner Urban Word, YPL has reached over 100,000 youth across the city since its inception.
By providing youth with a platform for creative expression, the YPL program promotes critical thinking of self, and by extension, a critical analysis of one’s role in one’s community and government. The program provides the platform for youth to voice their opinions about their elected representatives and community issues and, through peer-to-peer engagement, encourage those around them to become civically engaged.
YPL winners serve as leaders in the NYC youth community, championing the voice of the youth vote, performing and speaking at events, and conducting peer-to-peer voter engagement activities.
Learn more about past winners and read their voting-themed poems:
- 2018 Youth Poet Laureate — William Lohier
- 2017 Youth Poet Laureate — Sharon Lin
- 2016 Youth Poet Laureate — Nkosi Nkululeko
- 2015 Youth Poet Laureate — Crystal Valentine
- 2014 Youth Poet Laureate — Ramya Ramana
- 2013 Youth Poet Laureate — Ashley August
- 2012 Youth Poet Laureate — Ishmael Islam
- 2011 Youth Poet Laureate — Justin Long Moton
- 2010 Youth Poet Laureate — Zora Howard