Listen to a group of youth poets laureate read their work on 'Live At The Writers House' - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Live from the Kelly Writers House Mar. 2024

Inspired by their communities, families, nature, and a love of poetry, a group of current and former youth poets’ laureate – young writers who have been chosen to represent poetry and the arts by their hometowns and regions – gathered to read their work at the Kelly Writers House.

Organized in partnership with former Washington, D.C. youth poet laureate and current Kelly Writers House staffer Sophia Hall, the poets – Sarina Patel, Sasa Aakil, Allison Xu, Hallie Dong, Evan Wang, and Oyewumi Oyeniyi, and Sophia herself, along with musical guest Ananya Tare, a first year Penn student – wowed the Live audience with their remarkable work.


Sophia Hall  – 2023 Youth Poet Laureate of Washington DC, and a 2023 Presidential scholar. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Library of Congress, and Button Poetry. Sophia is also a media assistant at the Kelly Writers House.

Sarina Patel – A South Asian poet laureate planted in DC. Her work has received recognition from the New York Times, the National YoungArts Foundation, the American Poetry Museum, and elsewhere. Her current occupations include tutoring for the American University Writing Center & researching war, conflict and global migration as an Associate Fellow for the Global Research Network think tank.

Sasa Aakil – A Multimedia Artist, Writer, and the 2021 Montgomery County Youth Poet Laureate, Sasa has been featured in the Bethesda Magazine for her work as Youth Poet Laureate as well as in the Washington Post for her work on the A Man Was Lynched Yesterday Project in 2020. She has been active in the DC art community since age 13 and is now pursuing a degree in Fine Arts at Howard University.

Allison Xu – A senior at Walter Johnson High School, Xu is a young writer and poet passionate about using her words to make an impact in her community. Her creative work has been published in Blue Marble Review, Polyphony Lit, and elsewhere. She was the 2023 Youth Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Maryland. She has performed her poems at Busboys and Poets, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the American Courage Awards, and the Kennedy Center.

Hallie Dong – The 2023-24 Pittsburgh Youth Poet Laureate. Through writing, she explores the intersections of emotional health, culture, and youth civic engagement. Her work has been recognized by Princeton University, Anaphora Arts, Kenyon College, and JUST POETRY as a national winner, among others.

Evan Wang – The inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. He is a 2024 National YoungArts Winner in poetry and His work has been featured at and recognized by the White House, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and elsewhere. Evan is working on a chapbook manuscript titled Slow Burn.

Oyewumi Oyeniyi – The Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate, Oyeniyi was a winner of the 2023 Widener University High School Leaders Award. Oyeniyi is also a student journalist with Youthcast Media Group and has published two articles — one about climate storytelling and its importance in the environmentalist movement and another about 988, its impact on communities, as well as its future.

Ananya Tare – Ananya started her music training in Hindustani (Indian) classical music when she was just four years old. At 11, she developed an inquisitive interest in Western music when she started teaching herself to play the guitar. Her passion for performing blossomed as she began starring in leading roles in musicals. Her latest single, “Preventative Medicine,” is out now.

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