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April 2 @ 4:00 pm EDT - 6:00 pm EDT

Meeting Location:
  • Online
Virtual Event


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 3: Presenting readings by the High School 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

Renee Anderson, Chester, VA

11th grade, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School Renee Anderson is a junior in high school who majors in literary arts. She sees poetry as a way to lyrically illustrate what she and others feel about our present and want to see from our future. Anderson has spent a lot of time discussing and promoting the importance of self-expression through her own writing. She believes that being vocal about our emotions and thoughts is how we will see more change in our society. She has used poetry to talk about the issues that mean the most to her, and to evoke emotions for causes or people she feels are normally not spoken about. Anderson believes in the power of poetry and loves to exercise the way it merges creativity and activism by captivating people while spreading awareness. Shannie Porter, Charlottesville, VA12th grade, Albemarle High SchoolShannie Porter sees poetry as an effective tool for social change because poetry connects with people on a foundational emotional level that is difficult to ignore, and because social change begins with the same core— foundational compassion for our fellow human beings. Southeastern RegionYayra McGodfred, Virginia Beach, VA12th grade, Green Run Collegiate High SchoolYayra is a twelfth grade IB student at Green Run Collegiate. In her free time, she sings, does cringey theatre kid things, and writes. She loves writing poetry, but when she has free time, she adds a chapter or two to her Billie Eilish-inspired novel. Over the past two years, poetry has helped her realize that she was still holding on to a lot of things from her past. After many years of being bullied and dealing with difficult relatives for so long, she realized that she hadn’t forgiven the people who’ve hurt her. Writing a poem about how she felt while actively going through the heartache and writing down what she truly felt about the people who hurt her without sense has been very liberating. She will eternally be grateful to God for giving her this talent to use as an outlet. Poetry has gotten her through the lowest mental states and she knows that it can change the lives of others just as it’s changed hers.

Leia Morissey, Norfolk, VA12th grade, Granby High School   Leia Morrissey is a senior at Granby High School who enjoys reading, learning, and playing instruments. At school, Leia is part of the Marching Band where she is the Deputy Drum Major. She is also a member of the Forensics team. In the community, she is a member of Ohef Sholom Temple and is an assistant at their Sunday School. Leia has participated in her school’s annual poetry contest and has placed second for the past two years. Her work has been published in the Cupola, Granby High School’s literary journal. Leia believes that poetry is a power vessel to encourage social change. Poetry has the great ability to inspire people and provide a new perspective. It can simplify things to make them digestible & understandable to a large audience, and it can also magnify an issue and surround a person with the full weight of emotion. Using this medium for social change will allow the message to resonate loudly in a person and be more memorable. Poetry allows a creative and unique way to present an idea, and this uniqueness allows for a greater impact of the words. Poetry has constantly been used from Whitman to Angelou for disseminating ideas of social change; and given its history of being used for this purpose, it should continue to do the same today. Areen Syed, Norfolk, VA10th grade, Norfolk Academy Areen Syed is a sophomore at Norfolk Academy. She believes that poetry is the best tool for fostering empathy and unification. Words from every language are so rich and filled with beauty, which makes poetry the perfect way to overcome differences. Even the simplest words can have the greatest impact. Eastern RegionYunseo Chung, Yorktown, VA12th grade, Grafton High SchoolYunseo Chung is a senior at Grafton High School in Yorktown, VA. She has been passionate about poetry since she was a child, scrawling acrostic poems in the margins of her notebooks. To date, Yunseo has received a Scholastic Art and Writing National Gold Medal in Poetry, as well as 1st place in the Virginia High School League State Poetry Contest. She is also active as a Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador and often performs at local events. In her spare time, Yunseo interns with the VA Democratic Party and enjoys bullet journaling. Yunseo’s experience with poetry has shown her its transformative power. The vulnerability and healing that comes with writing and sharing poetry is unparalleled. Yunseo believes that this invigoration can be channeled into communities and people. She’s seen the power of the arts first-hand through teaching underprivileged children violin and viola. Even a short experience with the arts is enough to completely transform a classroom of children. Yunseo has no doubt that poetry will do the same for a community of people. North Central/Northwest RegionAdaevia Jones, Stafford, VA11th grade, Colonial Forge High SchoolWhen most people hear poetry, they become distressed about the overwhelming complexities in it. Once a poetry unit gets completed in class, many rejoice, yearning to move to something practical. However, poetry can and should be more than assignments for class. Many have found that simply playing with writing poetry or reading it outside of school is therapeutic in its way. It’s a beautiful art form that’s dying. Poetry is a conversation between two imaginations. It’s immensely therapeutic and can help us process our emotions no matter our level of skill. Furthermore, it is a tool to express ourselves, which is extremely important. Better yet, it doesn’t take publishing-level skill to do that. Stephanie Gomez, Broad Run, VA12th grade, Fauquier County Virtual Academy  Stephanie Gomez is a 12th grader at the Fauquier County Virtual Academy. She is an early December 2021 graduate. She has a wonderful family that consists of her mother, father, and two sisters. They always support her no matter what she does. Stephanie also acknowledges her amazing mentor and English 12 teacher, Dr. Steven Bucher. She plans to use this project to facilitate the social and emotional well-being of people. She sees poetry as a tool to help people with different interests, beliefs, and backgrounds find a common ground even with people they didn’t know before. Northern Region
Charlotte Maleski, Arlington, VA11th grade, Washington Liberty High SchoolCharlotte Maleski is a poet and filmmaker attending high school in Arlington, VA. Currently, she serves as Arlington’s Youth Poet Laureate of 2021, and has led workshops in local libraries and middle schools. Her very first poetry lesson was on slam poetry competitions, and the concepts of poetry and social change have been entwined for her ever since. Being exposed to spoken word early on taught her that every observation leads to a story, and every story can ask people to change the world in some way, no matter how trivial it seems. Kashvi Ramani, Ashburn, VA10th grade, Rock Ridge High School and the Academies of LoudounKashvi Ramani is a sophomore in high school who dreams of making a lasting impact on the world. While poetry has always been a part of her life, only recently has she taken it up as more than a side hobby. After being chosen for Split This Rock’s DC Youth Slam Poetry team, she began to view poetry as means to achieve her sky-high goals and do what she loves. Poetry to her provides the opportunity to express a unique perspective of the world through her diverse experiences. As a young Indian American, she faces challenges unseen and uncared for by much of the world. However, poetry is a tool to make a change and a way to speak candidly about her opinions. She sincerely wishes more people not only wrote poetry but were seized with the confidence to recognize themselves as poets and share their pieces with the world.   Western Region
Leah Gunn, Bristol, VA9th grade, Virginia High School Leah Gunn is a ninth grade student at Virginia High School in Bristol, Virginia. She is the ninth-grade class reporter, and a member of the color guard/marching band, Chorale, GSA and Interact Clubs. Leah sees poetry as a way to convey thoughts and emotions from personal experiences and important human rights issues facing teens today.

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.