By Susan Gale

The first ever Rhode Island Youth Poetry Ambassador has been named in 2018. A program developed by the RI Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, and the RI Center for the Book, the role is designed to showcase RI youth poetry and encourage local young people to read and write poetry. Judges for the contest were: Cane, Sussy Santana, and Sawako Nakayasu.

Moira Flath of Jamestown, a senior, was chosen as the Youth Poetry Ambassador and Kiani Sincere-Pope, of the Met School in Providence, was chosen as Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador to fill in when Flath goes to college in the fall. Runners up were Adeline Berle and Catherine Sawoski. See below for details and listen to these young people read their original poems.

Cane said that 18 cities and 6 states have some form of a Youth Poetry Ambassador and the initial RI contest received 30 entries. “Each applicant was as wonderful as the next,” she said.

Cane became RI’s sixth Poet Laureate in 2016. She is the author of Once More with Feeling (Veliz Books, 2017) and The Fifth Thought (Other Painters Press, 2008), a book-length poem. The recipient of a Fellowship Merit Award from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Cane is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, Rhode Island.

To learn more about the Youth Poetry Ambassador, visit the RI Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities.

Moira Flath
Kiani Sincere-Pope
RI Poet Laureate Tina Cane

Moira Flath - 2018 RI Youth Poetry Ambassador

Moira Flath was born in Yonkers, New York and moved to Jamestown, Rhode Island, at the age of ten. She has always fostered a love of poetry, and first got involved through spoken word competitions over four years ago. Moira is currently a senior at North Kingstown High School, and plans to attend the University of Delaware in the fall.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen as Youth Poetry Ambassador of our beautiful state. 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!,” said Flath.

Flath said poetry has changed her life by giving her new opportunities and increased confidence. For her senior project, she created Project Verse, which brings poetry workshops to RI schools.

Kiani Sincere-Pope - 2018 RI Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador

Kiani Sincere-Pope, of the Met School in Providence, was selected to serve as Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador. She will serve as an in-state advocate when the Youth Poetry Ambassador, Moira Flath, goes to college in the fall. Flath will retain her title and will perform her role from afar, while Sincere-Pope assumes any responsibilities that require an in-state presence.

“More commonly known as Kleo, I’m a 17 year-old poet from Providence who attends The Met School. 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 3 winners for the “Write! Rhode Island” short fiction contest, which got published in an anthology.”

Catherine Sawoski - 2018 RI Youth Poetry Ambassador Finalist

Adeline Berle - 2018 RI Youth Poetry Ambassador Finalist

Rewards of being selected Youth Poetry Ambassador

The RI Youth Poetry Ambassador receives a $250 cash prize, a guest-writer spot in the Providence Journal “Second Sunday” Poet Laureate column, a reading with other youth at a public library Providence, 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 busses state-wide, a trip on Providence Community Library’s Bookmobile to meet, greet and share poetry with youth from around the city, and an opportunity to record an episode for Poetry Dose, the poetry podcast produced by Atticus Allen and Tina Cane.

The RI Deputy Youth Poetry Ambassador receives a $100 cash prize, the opportunity to have her poetry featured through the Poetry in Motion, RI on RIPTA busses state-wide, an opportunity to read with other youth at a public library, 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

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. Learn more at: www.ribook.org

Susan Gale is Publisher of Kidoinfo.com.

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