Jacqueline Woodson named the new Young People’s Poet Laureate


Jacqueline Woodson is the new “young people’s poet laureate,” the Poetry Foundation announced Wednesday. In 2014, Woodson won the National Book Award for young people’s literature for her memoir-in-verse, “Brown Girl Dreaming.”

As young people’s poet laureate, Woodson will serve two years advising the Poetry Foundation and will engage in projects designed to instill a lifelong love of poetry in children. The poet laureateship comes with an award of $25,000.

Woodson has published 10 picture books, eight books for middle graders and 10 books for young adults.


At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April, Woodson explained her choice to combine poetry and memoir in “Brown Girl Dreaming.”

“With my writing, I try to do stuff I have not done before,” she said. “Each time I sit down, I want to have a new experience and, by extension, I want my readers to have a different experience.”

She added: “If you have no road map, you have to create your own.”

Robert Polito, the Poetry Foundation’s president, praised Woodson’s creativity. “Jacqueline Woodson is an elegant, daring, and restlessly innovative writer. So many writers settle on a style and a repertoire of gestures and subjects, but Woodson, like her characters, is always in motion and always discovering something fresh,” he said in a news release. “Her gifts, adventurousness and generosity, suggest she will be a terrific young people’s poet laureate.”

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