Rhode Island Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and The Rhode Island Center for the Book, have chosen Halima Ibrahim, of East Greenwich as Rhode Island’s new Youth Poetry Ambassador and Eugenie Rose Belony, of Providence, as our state’s new Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador.
In Halima’s own words, “Halima’s is a 17-year old student at the Community College of Rhode Island. Since 2018, she has been performing poetry to audiences large and small. From the steps of the statehouse to the Vets Memorial stage—whether to 20 people or 7,000— she continues to show up with each poem unafraid to tackle controversial, nuanced topics unapologetically. Such as gun violence, chronic illness, Islamophobia, and the struggles of being biracial in America. Her work reflects her passion for, in a fearless manner, highlighting important issues of our day which most would prefer to avoid.”
About her new role, Halima adds: “When I gave my TEDtalk in 2018, I began by saying I didn’t consider myself a poet. But now with this achievement, I’ll proudly say I am one. I hope to use my role to help more young people to become comfortable with themselves and their voices by using poetry as an outlet for verbal and emotional expression.”
Judge and State Poet, Tina Cane, also selected Eugenie Rose Belony of Providence to serve as Rhode Island’s new Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador. The Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador collaborates with the Ambassador and performs any duties in her stead, should she be unavailable.
In Eugenie’s s own words, she “is a 15-year old student from Providence Career & Technical Academy. She has been a poet and activist since 2017. From performing in front of a school ground of 5 people to an audience of 350, Eugenie has always shown leadership in any way that she can. With this opportunity, her words will go beyond the actions of uncertainty. Eugenie’s poems range from topics like gun violence to exploring how far out minds can think. She presents herself as a strong, young female of color growing up in a society where people don’t exactly look at both sides of the story. Eugenie has gained her knowledge from reading and has many more words to put into thousands of journals.”
Of her new position Eugenie says: “I thought poetry was just a way to express myself, but I quickly learned that my poems aren’t just for me. Being given this role is an honor. I am in a position to administer to the youth of Rhode Island and to show them the difference that poetry can make.”
Three 2020 finalists were also chosen: Isabella Tobin of Portsmouth High School, Deborah Ramos of Juanita Sanchez School and Lourdes Nicolella of Moses Brown School
Past Youth Poetry Ambassadors
2019 Youth Poetry Ambassador Catherine Sawoski
2018 Youth Poetry Ambassador Moira Flath