"Traditionally, a poet laureate position has been viewed as like a prize, because it kind of is — it's an acknowledgement of the fact that you've done all of these great things for your community, and we want to acknowledge you." That's how Ken Arkind, the poet behind Minor Disturbance, explained why he and others created the program two years ago. "Laureate is kind of a job, something you have to earn why you have it. The idea is that it gives you, as an artist — especially as a poet — a much higher platform to talk about change and things that are important."
Toluwanimi Obiwole, a member of Minor Disturbance and student at the University of Colorado Boulder, was named Denver's first Youth Poet Laureate in March 2015. With the position came the opportunity to perform and speak at local events, including Mayor Michael Hancock’s second inauguration, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Summit and the MLK Marade.
“Why not completely do what is in your power to change what you can change?” Obiwole told us last spring. “I want to utilize resources all over the city in order to create spaces and to facilitate a Denver that is friendlier to the arts, a Denver that truly wants to represent its population.”
Want to represent? Here's how to apply:
The deadline for all applications is November 25.
Submit 5 Original Poems / Raps / Performances (and/or YouTube Links to your poems).
Submit at least one poem that speaks to the themes of Human Relations, Diversity and Social Justice.
Include a RESUME that includes your name, address, phone # and email, AS WELL AS detailing all of your accomplishments, community service, after school programs, volunteer experiences and awards (if you want, you may use the template included in the booklet or ask your teacher to help).
Download the rules booklet here.