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January 29 @ 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 1: Presenting readings by the Elementary and Middle School VA 2021-22 Young Poets in the Community winners followed by a short conversation on their pubic 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:


Central Region

Jaiden Isaiah Brown is a 10 year old 5th grade young poet who attends Chesterfield County Public Schools. Jaiden has 2 siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. His father is a retired law enforcement officer and his mother is a Professional School Counselor. Jaiden’s love for poetry began at the age of 6. While listening to adults talk about “Black Lives Matter,” he became overwhelmed with the information and found writing was a way of expressing himself. As the deaths of unarmed black men rose and he witnessed riots and marches not only on TV but also in his own community, he began to experience trauma. Jaiden has had several opportunities to connect with his community through poetry. He has opened for Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, the authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller Stamped. He performed one of his poems during his school’s Black History month program, and was a stage participant and presenter for the 2021 Chesterfield County Juneteenth Celebration. Jaiden sees poetry as a tool for social change because poetry allows a platform for freely voicing one’s fears, emotions, conflicts, and concerns, toward resolving issues of social justice.

Southeastern Region

David Babbick is eight years old and in the third grade. He lives in the city of Virginia Beach. He has three brothers: Simon and Malcolm, six years old ; and Lincoln, who is two years old. His dad Arin Babbick practices fencing with him at Tidewater Fencing Club. David also does balloon animals with his dad (his dad used to be a balloon artist). David’s mom, Katie Babbick, homeschools David; they also do some cooking together. David is also very good at sketching and he thinks it’s a skill he inhered from his Uncle Byron. David says poetry is almost his whole life and he would give anything to write poetry. If he could he would write poetry all the time!

Northern Region

Emily Nguyen is a fifth-grade student at Camelot Elementary School in Fairfax County Public Schools. She views poetry as a creative word expression that can truly speak to people. Emily’s “Social Distancing” haiku was part of a collaborative project with her school’s art department developed during the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown. Students were asked to capture some of their thoughts and feelings and create poetry that reflected this most unusual time in their lives. Emily also designed artwork to accompany her haiku project that so beautifully shares her message.


Central Region

Key’niyah Clemons is the second oldest of six children, and you can’t put her in just one category. She’s a great cook, poet, and babysitter. As the second oldest, she’s had the responsibility of being a leader and never letting things put her down, because she had to give her younger siblings encouragement. She lives in Richmond, Virginia and is in the 8th grade at Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School. Her poems are inspired by the world around her.

Abigail Willis is an 8th grader at Tomahawk Creek Middle School. Since she was a little girl, Abigail has wanted to make a difference, and she figured out that the best way for her to do so is to use her voice to tackle some of our world’s greatest burdens, and to speak for those who are too afraid to. “Our hearts can’t carry the weight of our blue and green Earth, and society shows us how to embrace that, which is tremendous, but barely any words speak on how to release that pressure off our chests. People keep hearing, “You’re not alone,” but no one has proven it to them. There is a cure though: The rhythmic, cryptic words of poetry. Someone needs to write these words so that lives can be found and freed…” She believes that someone is her, and that’s who she plans to be until the day she dies. After all, she has a secret weapon: a wild mind that broke her down, built her back up again — and gave her the words that saved her life.

Northern Region

Elaine Zhang is an 11-year-old melophile and linguaphile living in Falls Church, Virginia. She is extremely engrossed by and devoted to the arts. In her free time, she loves to write poems, play the piano and cello, and paint. Her work, crafted with a goal to be a driving tool for change, has been featured in the Chinese American Museum in Washington D.C. To Elaine, each new poem is a delicate work of art that has the ability to evoke memorable feelings cherished by readers. Elaine develops her poems as she writes, going on a journey of discovery with her readers. Elaine looks forward to writing more riveting poetry and using her work as a driving tool for change.

North Central/Northwestern Region

Zoe Lee was born and raised in Virginia and attends Drew Middle School. Even when she was young, she has always liked reading and poetry. When she was little, she and he father would come up with limericks and haikus before bed and when she was in fourth grade she entered a poetry contest! She also likes to read and write fiction.


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.