ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced applications are now being accepted for the new Youth Poet Laureate position. Announced in November as part of the inaugural Poet Laureate Program in partnership with the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) and the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), the Youth Poet Laureate will act as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression. This position, as envisioned by Dr. Ball, will also demonstrate a passion for poetry and its power to connect our communities through local public readings and participation in civic events. 

Poetry is often one of the first literary materials children encounter in their reading journey and the beauty and power of poetry can stay with them throughout their lives. In addition to helping develop reading skills, poetry encourages self-expression and channeling one’s imagination and helping them deal with complex emotions. This position will help promote the beauty, passion and power of the poetic word and celebrate the arts, culture and literature that make Howard County the best places to live and thrive for all.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

An honorary one-year position, the Youth Poet Laureate will serve from August 2024 through June 2025 and will receive an honorarium of $500. The Youth Poet Laureate shall be formally appointed by County Executive Ball, acting on a recommendation determined by an independent panel of literary arts professionals and educators with expertise and experience in poetry coordinated by HCAC and HoCoPoLitSo.

The Arts Council is thrilled to partner with the Office of County Executive Calvin Ball and HoCoPoLitSo to launch the Howard County Youth Poet Laureate program. This program is a celebration of youth voices and a wonderful opportunity for our youth to step into the role of literary ambassador. I look forward to receiving applications from young poets that demonstrate a passion for the written and spoken word and its ability to inspire and transform communities.

Coleen West
Executive Director, Howard County Arts Council

To be eligible to apply, applicants must: 

  • Be a current Howard County resident, and either live in Howard County between August 2024 and June 2025 or be available to present in-person at public events in Howard County during this timeframe (for example, a resident who will be attending a college or university next year within commuting distance of Howard County);
  • Be between the ages of at least 14 (and a freshman in high school) and 21 at the time of application;
  • Demonstrate community engagement in the arts; and 
  • Be the creator of original poetic work.

Applications can be found online, along with guidelines providing detailed instructions on how and what is required to apply. Along with the application, applicants must provide digital and video work samples, a brief biography and statement about what poetry means to them, a description of their community engagement in any aspect of the arts, and one or two references. Applicants who are unable to submit their application materials online, should contact HCAC Grants and Special Projects Coordinator Dana Whipkey at 410-313-2787 or email [email protected]

“Since 1988, the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) has brought more than 30 distinguished writers to connect with Howard County students in their classrooms through what is now the endowed Bauder Writer-in-Residence program. Local students' literary promise and achievement are celebrated through HoCoPoLitSo's annual book awards and all-county writing competition," said HoCoPoLitSo Co-Chair Tara Hart. "The Howard County Youth Poet Laureate Program continues this celebration of emerging voices, expanding the opportunity for a young writer to directly connect with our community through the power of poetry."

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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