Rhode Island Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and The Rhode Island Center for the Book, have chosen Natasha Connolly, Classical High School, as our state’s 2023 Youth Poetry Ambassador and Sadie Jackson, Classical High School, as the 2023 Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador. Karuna Lohmann from Quest Montessori High School, Marvellous Awe from Classical High School and Favour Akinnagbe from Blackstone Academy, received Honorable Mentions.
Natasha’s goal as ambassador is to “to encourage other Rhode Island youth to develop a love of poetry by sharing the work of a diverse array of poets with the community through social media and other tools, as well as encouraging youth to write their own poems.” A lifelong reader, Natasha is often inspired by the work of other poets, including favorites such as Richard Siken, Sylvia Plath and Ocean Vuong. She has also read Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series approximately 50 times.
Judge and State Poet,Tina Cane, also selected Sadie Jackson 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. Sadie says, “I hope to share my experience of the universe and discover life in the words of others. I believe that there is nothing more wonderful than that which language can offer: simple comfort and human connection.
A launch and reading celebration will take place at the Rhode Island State House Library on January 27 at 5:30pm.
Natasha will receive a $1,000 cash prize, and the opportunity to have her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA busses state-wide.
Sadie will receive a $500 cash prize, the opportunity to have her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA busses state-wide.
Past Youth Poetry Ambassadors
2022 Youth Poetry Ambassadors Lourdes Nicolella and Adi Gamache
2020/21 Youth Poetry Ambassador Halima Ibrahim
2019 Youth Poetry Ambassador Catherine Sawoski
2018 Youth Poetry Ambassador Moira Flath