By Susan Gale
Moira Flath of Jamestown has been named the Ocean State’s first ever Youth Poetry Ambassador by Rhode Island Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and The Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities
The new position is designed to encourage youth throughout RI in writing and reading and the Ambassador will hold events during the year. Judges for the contest were Tina Cane, Sussy Santana, and Sawako Nakayasu.
“I am thrilled to have been chosen as Youth Poetry Ambassador of our beautiful state,” said Flath. “I look forward to working with artists and young people alike, and I hope to be able to inspire others to get involved and find a voice in poetry – a place where I have found mine!”
Flath, who moved to Jamestown from Yonkers, NY, when she was 10, has always fostered a love of poetry and first got involved through spoken word competitions more than four years ago. She is a senior at North Kingstown High School and plans to attend the University of Delaware in the fall.
As part of her position, Flath will oversee an Instagram account through which she will share visual prompts for poetry writing and poetry items of interest with RI youth.
Because Flath will be out of state for part of the year, a Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador has also been chosen to handle her in-state duties in the fall. Kiani Sincere-Pope, known as Kleo, lives in Providence and attends the Met School in Providence.
“I’ve been writing poetry since elementary school, and doing slam poetry since freshman year,” said Sincere-Pope. “This past February, I won the title as the 2018 Youth Grand Slam Poetry champion of Providence, and in addition to writing poetry, I also dabble in other genres of writing. Last year, I was one of the three winners for the “Write! Rhode Island” short fiction contest, which got published in an anthology.”
At the celebration on Monday evening, Moira Flath, Kiani Sincere-Pope, and finalists Adeline Berle, Yukiko Yamamoto, and Catherine Sawoski will read original poems.
The Youth Poetry Ambassador receives a $250 cash prize, a guest-writer spot in the Providence Journal “Second Sunday” Poet Laureate column, and a trip on the Providence Community Library’s Bookmobile to meet, greet, and share poetry with youth from around the city. The Deputy receives a $100 prize.
The top two winners read their poetry with other youth at a Providence Community Library branch or other Rhode Island branch. They will also have the opportunity to have their poetry featured through Poetry in Motion, RI, on RIPTA busses state-wide, and an opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose, the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane.
Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities is a statewide organization devoted to promoting personal and community enrichment by celebrating the art and heritage of reading, writing, making, and sharing books. Founded in 2003, the RI Center for the Book is the state affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress and is hosted by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. The Humanities Council’s mission is to seed, support, and strengthen public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders.
Susan Gale is Publisher at Kidoinfo.com.