Lourdes Nicolella of the Moses Brown School has been selected as youth poetry ambassador and Adi Gamache of the Met School has been selected as deputy youth poetry ambassador for 2022 by Poet Laureate Tina Cane, the RI Center for the Book announced in a statement. Adam Fontaine of Smithfield High School and Cyprus Weaver of Westerly High School received honorable mentions.
“This initiative is designed to bring more poetry directly to our state’s youth and to inspire young people through example. Just as the state poet laureate position symbolically affirms Rhode Island’s support of poetry, the youth poetry ambassador is meant to validate and support the creative potential of our young people,” said center director Kate Lentz in a statement.
The deputy collaborates with the ambassador and performs any duties in her stead should she be unavailable.
Nicolella is a senior at the Moses Brown School where she serves as the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine, Omnia. Her goal as ambassador is to “create an inclusive youth literary community within RI, where young people of all different backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to use their minds, hearts, and voices as a force for social justice.”
Gamache said, “Being named the deputy youth poetry ambassador is an incredible opportunity which I will try my best to live up to. To be able to meet and learn and share one’s art with others is a gift few get. More than anything, what I want to do with my poetry is change – if only for a second – the way someone views the world. Perhaps that is how the world itself is changed – with dominoes of repeated hope.”
A launch and reading celebration will take place at the State House Library in late February. Nicolella and Gamache will participate in poetry readings with other youths at additional library events to be announced.
Nicolella will receive a $250 cash prize and an opportunity to record a reading for Cane’s distance reading series “Poetry Is Bread.” Gamache will receive a $100 cash prize. Both will have the opportunity for their poetry to be featured on RIPTA buses as part of the “Poetry in Motion” series.
The 2022 appointments will be the fourth annual (except for a two-year term during the pandemic), following previous ambassador Moira Flath and deputy ambassador Kiani Sincere-Pope (2018), ambassador Catherine Sawoski and deputy ambassador Tyler Cordeiro (2019), and ambassador Halima Ibrahim and deputy ambassador Eugenie Rose Belony (2020/2021).