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Youth Poetry Ambassadors chosen; event Feb 8, 2019

Rhode Island Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and The Rhode Island Center for the Book, have chosen Catherine Sawoski, of Little Compton, as Rhode Island’s new Youth Poetry Ambassador and Tyler Cordeiro, of West Warwick, as our state’s new Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador.

The Center partners with the Rhode Island Poet Laureate each year to select an RI high school student to serve as a youth poetry advocate, to bring more poetry to the state’s youth, and to inspire young people through example.

Youth Poetry event

From 5:30 -6:30 pm on Friday, February 8, 2019, the new Ambassadors and four finalists, Yukiko Yamamoto, Emilee Souza, Annika Salgado, and Danysha Estrada, will read their original poems at the RI State House library.

Catherine Sawoski, Little Compton

Catherine is a junior at The Wheeler School in Providence and says she “is fiercely passionate about writing and literature.”

In addition to her regular classes, she “engages in independent study of aesthetic philosophy and avidly explores poetry spanning from the last few hundred years — especially finding love for writers such as Frank O’Hara or Anne Carson.”

While not pursuing poetry, Catherine is a young political activist in Rhode Island, as vice-chair and a member of various political organizations advocating for youth involvement on Smith Hill. She and her family (including her golden doodle, Amber) reside in Little Compton, where she is a deacon at the United Congregational Church.

Above all else, as the Poetry Ambassador and in everyday life, Catherine “wishes to help people become aware of how poetry is already a part of our shared language. We know when we see something that makes us feel — as simple as observing how telephone wires intermingle with a sunset or watching the moment that all the street lights turn on. These things are always around us, all we have to do is notice them. That’s the mission that [I] hope to accomplish over the next year, and [I] can’t wait to begin.”

Tyler Cordeiro, Providence

Judge and State Poet, Tina Cane, also selected Tyler Cordeiro of Providence to serve as Rhode Island’s new Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador. The Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador collaborates with the Ambassador and performs any duties in her stead, should she be unavailable.

Tyler is 16 years old and a junior at La Salle Academy. He enjoys writing poetry about his own experiences connected to the LGBT community, mental health issues, and other marginalized groups. He has published a book of his poetry and continues to share his voice with the community through poetry events and groups.

Of his new position Tyler says: “As the Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador of Rhode Island, I plan to fulfill my duties by inspiring as many young people as possible with my voice. It is my goal, through poetry, to make other people feel at home and united regardless of their identities or struggles in life. I am absolutely thrilled to have been given this amazing opportunity, telling my story – along with the amazing community that I have become a part of along the way – has become a huge light for me, in what was a very dark part of my life. I really want to help provide that light and tangible sense of belonging for others.”

Catherine will receive:

  • A $250 cash prize
  • A guest-writer spot in the Providence Journal “Second Sunday” Poet Laureate column
  • A reading with other youth at a Providence Community Library branch or at another Rhode Island branch
  • An Instagram account to manage through which to share with RI youth visual prompts for poetry writing and poetry items of interest
  • The opportunity to have her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA buses state-wide
  • A trip on Providence Community Library’s Bookmobile to meet, greet and share poetry with youth from around the city
  • An opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose, the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane

Tyler will receive

  • A $100 cash prize
  • The opportunity to have his poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA buses state-wide
  • An opportunity to read with other youth at a Providence Community Library branch or at another Rhode Island branch
  • An opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose, the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane
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