The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, interpersonal relations, diversity and education across Detroit.

During the fall, InsideOut Literary Arts Project will accept submissions from young poets, rappers, leaders and activists ages 13-19 from across Wayne County who are interested in representing Detroit as the 2018 Youth Poet Laureate.

A group of esteemed judges will choose four finalists, one of whom will be selected as the 2018 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate. The other three finalists will be given the distinction of Detroit Youth Poet Ambassadors – a collective tasked with amplifying the arts and culture of Metropolitan Detroit.

The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate and Detroit Youth Poet Ambassadors will have numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voices, their leadership, and love of Detroit at events across the state.

Free workshop support is available to all prospective applicants.

In partnership with the Detroit Public Library and the Hamtramck Public Library, the following free workshops are available to all teens interested in applying:

Monday, November 13
Detroit Public Library – Redford Branch

21200 Grand River, Detroit, MI
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Tuesday, November 14
Detroit Public Library – Main Branch

5201 Woodward, Detroit, MI
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Thursday, November 16
Hamtramck Public Library

2360 Caniff, Hamtramck, MI
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Workshops will include a creative writing component and a step-by-step tutorial of the application elements. Participants will be able to ask questions about their submission, as well as gain the technical skills to develop a professional portfolio of their work.

Application Requirements:

– Five (5) Poems
  • Five typed poems on any subject *Please do not include the author’s name in any poems
  • May be up to 10 pages in length
  • Use a standard font with 12 pt. text
– Resume/Curricula Vitae
  • A current history of your work and school experience
  • Include a list of achievements, publications, and/or performances
– Letter of Recommendation (optional)
  • A formal letter advocating on your behalf
  • Consider asking mentors, teachers, or other professionals
– Cover Letter
  • A one-page introduction to who you are
  • Tell us why you believe you’re qualified
  • What communities do you represent?
– Please submit files in one of the following formats only:
  • Word document (.doc/.docx) files
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf) files
  • Text (.txt) files
  • Portable Document Format (.pdf) files
  • Word Perfect (.ppf) files
Questions? Please contact Benjamin Alfaro at or by phone at (313) 577-4601.
The Detroit Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of InsideOut Literary Arts Project and Urban Word NYC with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation​, the McGregor Fund, the Dresner Foundation​, the Detroit Public Library, the Academy of American Poets, ​the ​Poetry Society of America and Cave Canem.​