Jacqueline Woodson Named Young People's Poet Laureate

Posted on June 4, 2015

Jacqueline Woodsen

Jacqueline Woodson has been named the new Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. The title is awarded every two years to a poet in recognition of her exceptional work. the title carries a $25,000 cash prize.

The Young People's Poet Laureate's mission is to help promote the love of poetry to young people. She will advise the Poetry Foundation on young people's literature and will engage in a number of activities which promote poetry to children and in schools.

Jacqueline Woodson has written more than 30 books for young adults and children. Her books have won multiple awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award,the Caldecott honor, three Newberry Honors and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Ms. Woodson was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her powerful and evocative novel Brown Girl Dreaming, which is written in verse, won the National Book Award.

In an interview with the Poetry Foundation, Ms. Woodson talked about being the new Young People's Poet Laureate. She told interviewer Stacey Lynn Brown that she wants young people to understand that poetry is for everyone, and that it is all around us. She says, "I think many people believe and want others to believe that poetry is for the precious, entitled, educated few. And that’s just not true." She talks about where to find poetry in every day life,saying, "Rap is poetry. Spoken word is poetry. Poetry lives in our everyday. I’ve read some of the most poetic tweets, listened to poetic voice messages and snippets of dialogue between teenagers."

She shared her hopes and aspirations for spreading the joy of poetry: "I would love for everyone to listen to the poetry inside of them. I would love for everyone to believe that they have a poem to write, say, sing, rap, dance -- and then execute that poem. I’m thinking about collaborations across race and class and gender."

She is so passionate and excited about poetry and, of course, is wildly talented. We are thrilled that has taken up this mission to spread the word.

Photo: Jacqueline Woodson