2018 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate, Imani Nichele, reflects on her experience with poetry.

Imani Nichele is the 2018 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate. A 17-year old native of Detroit and a Youth Advisor for Citywide Poets, Imani brings great experience and enthusiasm to this role. She is joined by Julia Hill, Jai’Len Smith, and Eldric Laron as Youth Poet Ambassadors. Over the course of the year, the four will serve as public advocates for artistic and civic engagement among other young people in Detroit.


Imani Nichele


Eldric Laron


Jai’Len Smith


Julia Hill

About the Youth Poet Laureate

The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate title is given to one teen each year to promote literacy, artistic engagement, and civic awareness among their peers. They will design a community service project, publish a collection of poems, and perform across the city.

About the Ambassadors

The Detroit Youth Poet Ambassador title is given to three teens each year to amplify the voices of peer artist communities across the region. They will publish critical and creative writing online that aims to spotlight Detroit’s rich communities of young, emerging artists.


2017 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate, Hajjar Baban

About the 2017 Laureate

In 2017, Hajjar Baban was named the Midwest representative (and runner-up!) for the National Youth Poet Laureate award. She created a service project highlighting migrant and refugee narratives and her debut collection, Relative to Blood, is forthcoming from Penmanship Books. Read more about Hajjar.



2019 Application

Interested in applying next year? To qualify, you must be 13-19 years old and a current resident or student of Detroit. Your poetry portfolio will include five poems, an artist resume (listing accomplishments, awards, community service, etc.), and a personal essay about how you’d utilize your role as Laureate. Submission period opens in the fall.

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