Morgan sophomore and English major Hannah Sawyerr of North Brunswick, N.J., was recently crowned the winner of the Baltimore Youth Poet Laureate competition, earning the top prize with her poem titled, “Church Dresses.”
As winner and newly named Youth Poet Laureate, Sawyerr received a cash prize of $500 and a national book deal, and will be featured in a local poetry tour. She also will have her photo and her winning poem featured at the Enoch Pratt Library and will be entered into a national poetry competition.
The runner-up in the Baltimore competition is also a student at Morgan. Sophomore Joy Barnes, a biology major from Suitland, Md., came in second to Sawyerr and will join her as an ambassador during the local poetry tour in Baltimore. Before finishing tops in the competition, the two each had to submit a written poetry piece then attend a meet and greet with the 10 competition judges, including Morgan associate professor M.K. Asante, then compete in a vigorous poetry slam against 10 other finalists.
Dew More Baltimore and its partners, the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore, Urban Word NYC and the Enoch Pratt Library, sponsor the Baltimore Youth Poet Laureate competition. Every February, City Hall hosts 12 creative youth aged 13–19 to compete for the title of Baltimore’s appointed Youth Poet Laureate. The judges select one winner and two runners-up. The Youth Poet Laureate is responsible for being a youth ambassador to Baltimore’s art and culture community: speaking, sharing and building locally and nationally.
Sawyerr assumes her role officially on Feb. 26, with the “passing of the pen” ceremony, which marks the transition from the former Youth Poet Laureate to a successor.
Congratulations to Hannah Sawyerr and Joy Barnes on a job well done!