Congratulations to Morgan State University student Mohamed Tall for being selected as the 2017 Youth Poet Laureate for the City of Baltimore. This is the second consecutive year that a Morgan student has received the honor. Last year’s Youth Poet Laureate was fellow Morganite and Tall’s close friend, Hannah Sawyerr.
Tall, a rising junior and political science major from Baltimore County, Md., competed against 10 other teens for this year’s top spot, eventually earning the title of Youth Poet Laureate after delivering two powerful compositions: “Not So Chocolate City,” which focused on the effects of gentrification, and “Capitalism Kills,” a poignant takedown and dissection of the effects of capitalism. Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh announced Tall’s selection during an event at City Hall.
Coinciding with the Louder Than a Bomb literary festival and National Poetry Appreciation Month, the Youth Poet Laureate competition sets out to identify a creative youth between the ages of 13 and 19 to represent Baltimore on a local and national platform as the ambassador of the city’s art and culture community. The competition winner receives $500, a national book deal and placement of their photo and poems in the window of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The Youth Poet Laureate also performs in a local Pratt Library tour. This is the third year for the competition.
Before winning this year, Tall placed second in the competition’s inaugural year and was named a Literary Ambassador. In the time since he has been identified as one of several great young writers to emerge from the city’s burgeoning poetry scene. A native of Conakry, Guinea, he has been writing poetry since the age of 13.