Thursday, May 27, 2021

Meet the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate: Alexandra Huynh

I was looking for a way to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and voice my support for efforts to stop AAPI hate, but I had already posted so much about poetry by Asian Pacific American poets. See my February post here with a list of poetry books by AAPI poets, for example. But there is always so much to celebrate about the beauty of work by AAPI writers, like my dear friend Janet Wong. (Watch for my video interview with her coming soon!) 
Image source: Urban Word NYC
And then this news popped into my e-mailbox! Kismet! This week, the new 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate was named and it's Alexandra Huynh. Congrats to this bright new talent! Urban Word NYC (the home of the Laureate program) made the announcement saying, "A second-generation Vietnamese American, Huynh employs poetry as a tool of self-reclamation and social justice for marginalized communities. This fall, Huynh will be a freshman at Stanford University where she aims to combine her passions for creative writing, science, and civic engagement." 

This is the same program that gave us Amanda Gorman! You remember her, right? The bright, amazing young woman who presented her original poem at the Inauguration of President Biden in January! The other finalists in the Laureate program included Serena Yang (NYC Youth Poet Laureate and Northeastern Regional Ambassador), Alora Young (Nashville Youth Poet Laureate and Southern Regional Ambassador), and Faye Harrison (Ann Arbor Youth Poet Laureate and Midwest Regional Ambassador), and Alexandra Huynh (Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate and Western Regional Ambassador) who was named the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate. What a group of young women to watch! 

Urban Word NYC notes: "As the 2021 National Youth Poet Laureate 18-year-old Huynh will serve as a cultural ambassador for the United States using poetry as a platform for the literary arts and civic engagement. Huynh will represent the National Youth Poet Laureate program and the national youth literary arts community through a series of performances and civic engagements through May 2022."

Urban Word NYC has an excellent YouTube channel with lots of fabulous footage. Watch Alexandra perform at the Kennedy Center ceremony here:

WOW, right?
And in her original "application" video to the Laureate program she talks about her "poetry journey."

It's young people like this who give me such hope for the future! Their voices, their views, their passions, and their poetry are all so powerful and inspiring! 

Next, go to Michelle Kogan's place where she is hosting all our Poetry Friday posts this week. So much to read and ponder and celebrate! 


Denise Krebs said...

Yes, Alexandra Huynh is an amazing young person. Thank you so much for introducing her this Friday. I loved watching the videos. The National Youth Poet Laureate program is so important and I too have hope in the future when I see young people like this being honored and listened to.

Mary Lee said...

This is SUCH exciting news! Hooray for these inspirational young poets!