To encourage poetry writing amoung our state's youth, the Laureate's website highlights noteworthy poems written by those age eighteen and under. My goal is to demonstrate that poetry is an art form hospitable to the young. It answers their need to reflect on life's experiences and gives meaning and order to these events. Doing so, young people discover not only the language to express their thoughts and emotions but also the pleasures of language itself.
Writing a poem, then, becomes a means for the young to learn equally notions of selfhood and modes of language that express and thus define them. As added benefit, we adults are privy to what the young have to say and how they say it. We thereby deepen our understanding of the range of challenges children face in the contemporary world.
That their poems appear on this site, alongside the work of our state's best poets, underscores that words – their words – indeed matter.
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, 5th grade
Courtenay Language Arts Center, Chicago, Illinois, 4th grade
Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, 6th grade
Skokie Public Library 2004 Teen Poetry Contest Winners
- Kenzie Parry, Niles North High School, grade 9
- Kathryn Peyer, Home Schooled, grade 11
"Define -- Dance"
- Kenneth Doma, East Prairie School, grade 8
"I Come From"
- Rebecca Lisitza, East Prairie School, grade 7
- Alex Antonow, Park View School, grade 6
"Mother's Mystery Meal"
Visit the Youth Poetry archive.