Youth Poetry Ambassador Catherine Sawoski

About the Youth Poetry Ambassador Initiative-
The Center partners with the Rhode Island Poet Laureate to select a RI high school student to serve as a youth poetry advocate to bring more poetry to our state’s youth and to inspire young people through example.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and The Rhode Island Center for the Book, have chosen Catherine Sawoski, of Little Compton as Rhode Island’s new Youth Poetry Ambassador and Tyler Cordeiro, of West Warwick, as our state’s new Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador.

In Catherine’s own words, she is “a junior at The Wheeler School in Providence, Catherine is fiercely passionate about writing and literature. In addition to her regular classes, she engages in independent study of aesthetic philosophy and avidly explores
poetry spanning from the last few hundred years — especially finding love for writers such as Frank O’Hara, or Anne Carson. While not pursuing that, Catherine can be found as a young political activist in Rhode Island, vice-chairing and a member of various political organizations around the state and advocating for youth involvement on Smith Hill. She and her family (including her golden doodle, Amber) reside in Little Compton, where she is a deacon at the United Congregational Church.

Above all else, as the Poetry Ambassador and in everyday life, she wishes to help peoplebecome aware of how poetry is already a part of our shared language. We know when
we see something that makes us feel — as simple as observing how telephone wires
intermingle with a sunset, or watching the moment that all the street lights turn on. These things are always around us, all we have to do is notice them. That’s the mission that Catherine hopes to accomplish over the next year, and she can’t wait to begin.”

Judge and State Poet, Tina Cane, also selected Tyler Cordeiro 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 Tyler’s own words, he “is 16 years old and is junior at La Salle Academy. He enjoys writing poetry about his own experiences connected to the LGBT community, mental health issues, and other marginalized groups. He has published a book of his poetry and
continues to share his voice with the community through poetry events and groups.”

Of his new position Tyler says:
“As the Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador of Rhode Island, I plan to fulfill my duties by inspiring as many young people as possible with my voice. It is my goal, through poetry, to make other people feel at home and united regardless of their identities or struggles in
life. I am absolutely thrilled to have been given this amazing opportunity, telling my story–along with the amazing community that I have become a part of along the way–
has become a huge light for me, in what was a very dark part of my life. I really want to help provide that light and tangible sense of belonging for others.”

A launch and reading celebration will take place at the State House Library on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 5:30. Catherine Sawoski, Tyler Cordeiro, and finalists, Yukiko Yamamoto, Emilee Souza, Annika Salgado, and Danysha Estrada will read original poems.

Catherine will receive a $250 cash prize, a guest-writer spot in the Providence Journal “Second Sunday” Poet Laureate column, a reading with other youth at a Providence Community Library branch or at another Rhode Island branch, an Instagram account
to manage through which to share with RI youth visual prompts for poetry writing and poetry items of interest, the opportunity to have her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA busses state-wide, a trip on Providence Community Library’s
Bookmobile to meet, greet and share poetry with youth from around the city, and an opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose, the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane.

Tyler will receive a $100 cash prize, the opportunity to have her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA busses state-wide, an opportunity to read with other youth at a Providence Community Library branch or at another Rhode Island branch, and an opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose, the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane.

email: Kate Lentz, Director of Rhode Island Center for the Book
at kate@ribook.org
phone: 401-374-0664

About the Contest

poetry writingRhode Island Center for the Book and Poet Laureate Tina Cane Announce
RI Youth Poetry Ambassador Initiative 2019

Rhode Island Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and The Rhode Island Center for the Book , are partnering to launch the Rhode Island Youth Poetry Ambassador initiative. This program seeks to establish a youth poetry advocate position to be filled by a high school student (grades 9-12) who resides in the state of Rhode Island. It will be filled on an annual basis, with this year’s application period taking place between October 15, 2018-December 1, 2018.

This initiative is designed to bring more poetry directly to our state’s youth and to inspire young people through example. Just as the State Poet Laureate position symbolically affirms Rhode Island’s support of poetry, the Youth Poetry Ambassador is meant to validate and support the creative potential of our young people. A Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador will also be selected to perform on-site, in-state duties when necessary or desirable.

A Youth Poetry Ambassador and Deputy Ambassador will be chosen in a blind-submissions process by RI Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and announced in early January 2019.

Youth Poetry Ambassador LogoThe selected Youth Poetry Ambassador will receive (some or all of) the following opportunities–contingent upon the student’s ability and availability:

  • a $250 cash prize from the RI Center for the Book
  • a guest-writer spot in the Providence Journal “Second Sunday” Poet Laureate column
  • the opportunity to have his/her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA busses state-wide
  • an Instagram account to manage as RI Youth Poetry Ambassador through which to share with RI youth visual prompts for poetry writing and poetry items of interest
  • a reading with other youth at a Providence Community Library branch or at another Rhode Island branch
  • an opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose , the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane
  • a trip on Providence Community Library’s Bookmobile to meet, greet and share poetry with youth from around the city

Applicants may submit the following materials together, via email or post, between October 15, 2018 – December 1, 2018:

  • a one or two-paragraph statement on why s/he would like to be considered for this position
  • a letter of support from a teacher or librarian
  • a letter of support from a peer
  • two original poems

email: Kate Lentz, Director of Rhode Island Center for the Book at kate@ribook.org

by mail: Rhode Island Center for the Book
72 Rumstick Road
Barrington, RI 02806

Attn: Kate Lentz, Director

Learn about RI’s first Youth Poetry Ambassador, Moira Flath



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