Atlanta Word Works – Teen Poetry

Atlanta’s home for youth poets and uncensored teen poetry.  Art, not ego.What is Atlanta Word Works?

Atlanta Word Works (AWW) is a program of VOX that focuses on poetry writing and spoken word performance for teens in Metro Atlanta.  It was originally started by VOX alumna Natalie Cook and has since become an integral part of VOX programming. Since its inception, AWW has sought to provide space for youth poets throughout the metro-Atlanta area to grow and express themselves. We host poetry workshops, open mic nights and slams open to the community.  VOX also hosts the Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate program and our youth poetry collective.  All of Atlanta Word Works’ programming is run by current and former participants, operating under a near-peer model. Check out some of our featured Atlanta Word Works content.

VOX ATL and AWW is home to Metro Atlanta’s Youth Poet Laureate Program!

Current and Previous Atlanta Youth Poet Laureates:

Nathan Wallace – 2019- present

Ogechi Ofodu – 2017- 2018

Ninel Nekay – 2016-2017

Kenny Buckner – 2015

*Apply to Atlanta’s Youth Poet Laureate program today! See below for the link and details on how to apply. Application deadline: April 26, 2021*

What is the Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate Program?

The Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate Program aims to identify young writers and leaders who are committed to civic & community engagement, poetry & performance, human relations, diversity, social justice and education across Metro Atlanta.

The Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of Urban Word NYC (National Youth Poet Laureate home) and VOX ATL with support from Fulton County Arts and Culture, the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Richard C. Munroe Foundation.


Who’s Eligible:

  • Teen residents of the Metro Atlanta Area (ie: Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb, or Gwinnett county)
  • Teens 13-18 years of age
  • Teens with an interest in poetry writing and performance, as well as a demonstrated interest in community engagement and youth empowerment

YPL Benefits:

  • Serve as a representative for youth voice and poetry in Metro Atlanta (access to performances, readings, etc.)
  • Be published in the National Urban Word Youth Poet Laureate anthology
  • Be eligible to compete in the regional and national Youth Poet Laureate competitions and all national Youth Poet Laureate programming with other youth across the country
  • Option to receive either a $500 prize or the resources to self-publish and print your own chapbook
  • First priority to participate in VOX ATL’s summer poetry collective

Application Process:

  1. Fill out the application here
  2. Applicants are required to:
    1. Submit 5 original works of poetry
    2. Submit a resume, CV, or brag sheet detailing applicant’s accomplishments, community service, after-school program participation, awards, or anything else applicant wishes to highlight about themselves
    3. Submit adequate responses to all application questions

2021 Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) Timeline 

Application Opens – Friday, March 19, 2021 at 5 p.m. Apply Here!

We encourage interested applicants to attend our workshop series to meet other prospective applicants and received additional tools and resources to strengthen your application! All workshops are free to teens 13-19 in the Metro Area.  Sign up for our workshops here:

First YPL Workshop Session – Friday, March 26 5-6 p.m.

Civic Engagement and Crafting Your Brag Sheet

Second YPL Workshop Session – Friday, April 2  5-6 p.m.

Writing and Do’s and Don’ts of Performance

Third YPL Workshop Session – Saturday, April 17, 2021 3:30-5 p.m.

Mock Slam and Performance Practice 

Fourth & Final YPL Session – Saturday, April 24, 2021 1-2 p.m.

Application Writing/Submission Support Session

YPL Application Closes – Monday, April 26, 2021 at 5 p.m. 

Judges’ Application Review Period – Monday, April 26 through May 8

Five finalists will be notified on May 8.

Final Slam and Commencement Ceremony will take place Saturday, May 15, 2021