NEW YORK (AP/KFOR) — Five high school students from across the country have been selected as this year’s National Student Poets, including a laureate from Oklahoma.
The program, founded more than a decade ago, is the nation’s highest honor for young poets in grades 10 and 11 presenting original work.
Each winner represents a different region in the country, and brings their own distinctive background and perspective.
Kallan McKinney is from Norman High School, representing the Southwest region of the country.
Kallan is a queer and trans poet born in St. Louis, MO, and currently living in Norman, OK. Kallan attended Oklahoma Arts Institute as a creative writing student in 2022, where they developed the confidence to write about their experiences as a trans athlete and artist. Kallan uses poetry to initiate healing conversations about identity in relation to found family, trans joy, and human/environmental interactions. Kallan plays soccer (goalkeeper), does theatre (both crew and acting), and enjoys experimenting with different mediums of art and playing guitar. Kallan loves attending orchestra and band concerts, cooking without recipes, and walking new routes with friends.Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
Representing the remaining four geographical regions of the nation, the 2023 National Student Poets are:
- Jacqueline Flores (Southeast), Fort Meade Middle Senior High School, Zolfo Springs, FL
- Miles Hardingwood (Northeast), Hunter College High School, Brooklyn, NY
- Shangri-La Hou (Midwest), John Burroughs School, Saint Louis, MO
- Gabriella Miranda (West), Rowland Hall, Salt Lake City, UT
The National Student Poets Program is a partnership of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, presenter of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, from which the winning poets were selected.
“The smart, engaging, imaginative poetry of these five young poets will be an inspiration to their peers and their elders as it has been to the judges and the IMLS. We are proud to present them to our country,” Crosby Kemper, director of the Museum and Library Institute, said in a statement Wednesday.
The student poets, each of whom receive $5,000, will help oversee workshops, readings and participate in a range of regional literary and arts events.
Previous poets have appeared at the White House and Lincoln Center, among other venues.