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February 19 @ 4:00 pm EST - 6:00 pm EST

Meeting Location:
  • Online
The Muse Writers Center
2200 Colonial Ave, Suite #3
Norfolk, VA 23517 United States


Join The Muse Writers Center and Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria for a three-part series featuring Young Poets in the Community from around Virginia.

Part 2: Presenting readings by the Undergraduate/College Level VA 2021-22 Young Poets in the Community winners followed by a short conversation on their public poetry project proposals.

Register to attend via Zoom

This program of VA Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria was made possible with support from the Academy of American Poets, the Mellon Foundation, The Poetry Society of Virginia, and The Muse Writers Center.

Poet Bios:


Aderonke Adelenke, Chesapeake, VASophomore, Old Dominion UniversityMentor: Heather Weddington, Creative Writing professor

Aderonke Adeleke has used poetry as a means of emotional release. Each stanza she has written in the form of poetry, song, or narrative has been a source of clarity and inspiration. When life is hard on her and she has no plan or direction, poetry has been her outlet. She is passionate about the maintenance and upkeep of mental health. She believes that if poetry were to be incorporated in schools, many students would adopt this as a method of self-therapy. As more poetry is written and spread, others could relate to and sympathize with their peers. She hopes that through poetry lives can be saved and mental health can be stabilized.   Shawna Alston, Norfolk, VAFreshman, College of William and MaryMentor: Edmund Dowe, former AP Literature Teacher, Granby High SchoolBeing a young Black poet, Shawna definitely understands the desire for transformative works of literature. After graduating from Granby High School in Norfolk, VA, she appreciates any opportunity to create literature. One of the many reasons she writes is because she hopes to one day inspire an entire generation to love so fiercely they feel confident enough to destroy the systems that breed hate. If you ask her, she’ll tell you that’s why she chose poetry. Words are harsher, softer, smoother, rougher, even louder when they’re in poems, and Shawna wants her to work to strike a nerve in each and every individual reader. This program will give her that opportunity and allow her to encourage members of her community to seek similar opportunities. Virginia Kane, Alexandria, VASenior, Kenyon CollegeMentor: Dr. Orchid Tierney, Assistant Professor of English, Kenyon CollegeVirginia Kane is a queer writer from Alexandria, Virginia. Her debut poetry chapbook, If Organic Deodorant Was Made for Dancing, was selected as the inaugural poetry release for Sunset Press in 2019. She is a senior at Kenyon College where she studies English, Creative Writing, and Women’s and Gender Studies, reads for The Kenyon Review, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Sunset Press. She was longlisted for the 2020 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest and commended for the 2021 Adroit Prize in Poetry. Virginia’s work has appeared in The Susquehanna Review, SWWIM Every Day, and Dust Poetry Magazine. Virginia views poetry as an agent for social change because she believes its reliance on emotional awareness encourages greater openness towards the self and deeper sensitivity towards others. In her eyes, poetry provides an ideal setting for exploring intimate questions about identity and experience while illuminating how personal realities are shaped by vast political, social, and economic systems. As a platform for education and thus, radicalization, poetry proves that feelings are a valuable form of knowledge that indicate the health of our local, national, and global communities. Rooted in imagination and experimentation, poetry can offer glimpses into alternate universes while proposing alternative value systems, suggesting that creativity is essential to the construction of a more equitable world.   Hailey Lanford, Arlington, VASenior, George Washington UniversityMentor: Thea Brown, Professor of English, George Washington University Hailey Lanford is a senior at Washington University (Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Linguistics). She is an alumna of Northern Virginia Community College, with an Associates of Arts with English Specialization, an alumna of the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts formerly at Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, and an avid supporter of writing and poetry. Growing up in a military family, Hailey was able to find consistency and joy in reading books as her family moved across the country and overseas. Through her experience of connecting with people through literature wherever they moved, Hailey believes that poetry can show the difference in experiences that people have in an open, honest, and informative way. Through her own poetry, she has been able to cultivate conversations surrounding mental health, race, and love.Molly Rufus, Alexandria, VAArt organization employee and audio engineering studentMentor: KaNikki Jakarta, Poet Laureate of Alexandria, VAMolly Rufus is a poet, student sound engineer, songwriter, and musical artist. She has had poems featured on the Pulitzer Center website and is a current intern at the City of Alexandria’s Office of Arts program, as well as the administrative assistant for the award-winning professional poet, C.Thomas. Molly frequently writes about feminism, LGBTQIA+ politics, and racial politics. She believes stories and sharing matters. Healing can be a marriage between the two. She uses poetry for starting difficult conversations and airing the grievances of young black women coming of age in a trying time. Mariah Salazar-Solórzano, Alexandria, VA Sophomore, Northern Virginia Community CollegeMentor: Nicole Tong, Professor of English, Northern Virginia Community College and Poet Laureate of Fairfax County Mariah Salazar-Solórzano is an English student at Northern Virginia Community College. She takes great delight in writing poetry as a form of self-expression and storytelling, but more than that she loves encouraging others to read and write poetry. She has witnessed poetry’s ability to positively influence a writer’s identity, and views poetry as an avenue for expanding and diversifying communities. She values using poetry as a medium to harmonize all voices while bringing extra attention to those voices that have been silenced for too long.

Please note: This class or event will be held online (using Zoom or a similar live platform). To participate, students or attendees should have a stable internet connection. Class participants: you should have a computer or device with a webcam and microphone; and your Zoom link will be automatically sent to you after you register. Check your spam box if you don't see it.