The New York City Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders committed to creating change through civic engagement and poetic excellence. 

Every fall, 15 finalists are selected from the pool of applications to join in workshop and communion together through a paid virtual fellowship program led by the Urban Word NYC Poet-in-Residence, Drew Drake. After the series of Fellowship workshops, the 15 will compete for the title of the NYC Youth Poet Laureate. Along with the official title, the NYC Youth Poet Laureate gets both high-level performance and publication opportunities and the opportunity to compete to be the National Youth Poet Laureate! 

All Finalists also have the opportunity to join in a PAID Spring Production of the work created during this fellowship in partnership with Federal Hall and the National Harbor Conservatory.



Stephanie Pacheco is the 2023 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, a student, and an organizer from The Bronx. From her early high school years to now, Stephanie has been a fierce advocate for educational equity and social justice across New York City. She has performed her poetry at multiple cultural landmarks such as The Apollo Theater and The Schomburg Center, where she was also a Junior Scholar. She has been a leading organizer and strategist with several activist organizations, including the Healing Centered Schools Task Force, Alliance for Quality Education, and Teens Take Charge, working to mobilize youth across the city against educational injustice. Her poetry and advocacy has been highlighted by The Today’s Show, The New York Times, The Daily News, CBS, and other publications. She is a recipient of the 2021 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. A member of her school’s Writer’s Guild, Urban Word NYC’s 2022 Slam Team, and a Black Girl Magic Fellow, Stephanie’s goal is to continue uplifting and to connect with her community using her words as tools for liberation, championing the belief that a better world is possible.

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You must be between 14 –19 years old and a current resident of New York City.

A  statement of you explaining why you would like to be New York City’s next Youth Poet Laureate, and what you feel you may bring to the position.  This can be written (no more than 500 words) or a video (no longer than 2 minutes).
***If you choose to use a video, please make sure we can see your face  and hear your voice clearly. 

Poetry Samples:
A single document containing  1-2 original poems or rap lyrics AND one video of you sharing your work aloud acappella (without music).

An Artist Resume and a bio.
Your Resume should include: school accomplishments (awards, club memberships, etc) community work (i.e. volunteer work, etc) and artistic and personal accomplishments (shows you’ve performed or produced, personal creative projects, etc.)

Your bio tells us a bit about who you are, your background, some interests/accomplishments you think are important from your resume, what inspires your art, and future plans. (See the official application form for an example)

The NYC Youth Poet Laureate will serve a one (1) year term, conduct a poetry tour and make special appearances throughout NYC, and have the opportunity to apply to be The Regional and The National Youth Poet Laureate.

Past NYC Youth Poet Laureates