Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate applications now open

Susan EspirituOur Town Youth

Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate applications are now open until March 15, 2024. Youth ages 13 – 19 can apply to hold this prestigious honor. The winner will take office on May 1, 2024.

There have been two Youth Poet Laureates since the inception of the program in Knoxville: Melody Dalili in 2022, and Virgil Voyles in 2023.

Melody Dalili, the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate, completed a project called Poet-trees which inspired countless people to write and share poetry in their local library. She was also the runner-up for the State of Tennessee, Youth Poet Laureate position. As a part of her service, Melody was published by the 5th Woman Books for a book called Thank you for Staying.

Virgil Voyles, the second Youth Poet Laureate, has used their year to bring a voice to the community for LGBTQ+ youth. They have performed on podcasts, at rallies and created a workshop series that brings together Knoxville youth at the Knox Pride center, creating a safe space for them to express their personal stories and become better writers.

It is remarkable the work that the two Youth Poet Laureates of 2022 and 2023 have already accomplished. Who will be Knoxville’s third Youth Poet Laureate?

Info: Rhea Carmon, program director, at or reach out to the Knoxville Writers Guild at The application can be found at

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