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.



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.

Elizabeth Shvarts is a 17-year old writer, artivist, entrepreneur, and the 2022 NYC Youth Poet Laureate. A student at Staten Technical High School in Staten Island, NY and a member of the 2021 Urban Word NYC Slam Team, her poetry and activism have been highlighted by PBS, the United Nations, the Apollo, NY1, Grist Magazine, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Alliance for Climate Education, and more. In addition to being recognized for spoken word poetry, Elizabeth is a 2021 National YoungArts Finalist in Play/Script, with written work published in Frontier Poetry, Twin Pies Literary, Hadassah Magazine, jGirls Magazine, and more. An advocate through entrepreneurship as well as art, Elizabeth is the co-founder/co-director of Bridge to Literacy, a global, U.S Department of State-funded nonprofit that fosters a love of language through literacy-based mentorship in 100+ youth across 6 continents. 

Past NYC Youth Poet Laureates