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Madison’s new Youth Poet Laureate

Learn more about Madison’s Poet Laureate program and what’s in store for the new Youth Poet Laureate this coming year.

608 Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez encourages kids to get excited about literature. | Photo by WI Book Festival

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Madison’s Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez named Maliha Nu’Man as the city’s 2023-24 Youth Poet Laureate at a ceremony on Thursday evening.

Maliha self-published her book “Photograph” at the age of 14 and has worked with Madison’s Youth Poet Laureate Cohort under Angela Trudell Vasquez from 2022 to 2023.

The National Youth Poet Laureate program works with local organizations across the US to highlight young people who want to inspire a positive impact in their community through their poetic talents.

What is a Poet Laureate?

Poet Laureates are appointed by the City to guide and nurture the development of poetry in the community. Fun fact: Madison is one of the first cities in the country to have a Poet Laureate.

Madison’s Poet Laureate duties

Bus Lines project | Since 2009, this project has been a way to bring poetry to city residents by displaying poems on Metro Transit buses. Each year, all Madison residents are welcome to participate for a chance to have their short poems showcased on buses that traverse the city.

bus poem reads "Bus stop / I sync my iPod / to the rain"

The Bus Lines project brings a bit of zen to your daily commute. | Photo by Melissa Allen

Common Council series | During Madison’s Common Council meetings, a poem is occasionally recited by the Poet Laureate or invited poets. This can reinforce a sense of civility in the discourse to follow.

Youth Poet Laureate mentorship | This is Madison’s second year as a member of the National Youth Poet Laureate program, making Maliha Nu’Man the second-ever teen to hold the title in the 608.

During Maliha’s one-year term, she will join Angela Trudell Vasquez to give multiple public poetry readings, and her poems will be published in the annual anthology of the National Youth Poet Laureate program. Also, Maliha now has the chance to apply for the role of National Youth Poet Laureate come fall.

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