DC Youth Poet Laureate
The DC Youth Poet Laureate program aims to identify powerful youth poets aged 14-20 who have a history of artistic success, civic and community engagement, social justice, and leadership specifically iN Washington, D.C. Chosen applicants will undergo an extensive interview process and perform competitively in the Grand Slam Finals.
The winner will:
- Perform on tour at all Busboys and Poets DC locations and various DC Public Libraries
- Perform and participate in Planet Word during National Poetry Month in April
- Serve on the Youth Advisory Board for the John F. Kennedy Center
- Publish an original book through Words Beats and Life upon program completion
request more info to be the next DC Youth Poet Laureate or join the dc youth poetry ensemble below.
Gabriela Orozco is a D.C. native and currently a sophomore at School Without Walls. She takes inspiration and pride from her heritage as a Jewish Latina daughter of immigrants; her mother is from South Africa and her father is from Nicaragua. Her poetry is inspired by reflections on her identity as well as improving herself and the world. Gabriela celebrates living in Washington D.C. and is passionate about reading, writing, and social justice.
Gabriela loves learning about politics, literature, history, traveling. She also loves reading and spending time with family and friends. She is honored to have been chosen as the 2019 DC Youth Poet Laureate and relishes the opportunity to grow as a writer, an activist, and an ambassador of poetry and writing, though Words Beats Life. She has performed in D.C. at Busboys and Poets, at School Without Walls and for the Youth Arts Advocacy Exchange.
Words Beats & Life coordinates the local DC chapter of this program and ensures each DC Youth Poet Laureate receives a book deal, a performance tour throughout the city, and professional development resources. Gabriela is the fourth ever DC Youth Poet Laureate following 3rd year’s champion, Aniya Smith, the second champion, Kenny Carroll, and the inaugural, Malachi Byrd. Register to compete to become next year’s DC Youth Poet Laureate by filling in the registration form on this page. Good luck!
Meet the Laureates :