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PSV Youth Initiatives

In a world filled with noise, distractions, and rapid changes, our youth poetry programs stand as beacons of creativity, self-discovery, and empowerment.


Youth literary initiatives are more than just a moment for young poets to write poems. These moments are incubators for personal growth, empathy, and a deeper understanding of the human experience.

These programs offer a myriad of benefits that extend far beyond the written word. Students are immersed in:

  • Critical thinking

  • Cultural & identity exploration

  • Communication skills

  • Community building

  • Academic enhancement

  • Confidence building

  • Advocacy & addressing world issues

We welcome student applicants and participants to our programs and foster many opportunities for them to grow as poets.

Young Poets in the Community Program

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Cathy Hailey

YPIC Chair

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Steve Bucher

YPIC Co-Chair

Language is one medium that allows humans to articulate their individuality. Poetry is a particularly powerful expression of this capacity of language. Like the other arts, poetry can touch those places in us where we feel most human; where we are deeply moved, and in turn can move and inspire others.

Learn More About YPIC

Criteria: We invite applications from young poets in Virginia, at the following levels: --Elementary School --Middle School  --High School  --College We will select, from applications, up to 5 Young Poets in the Community in each of the 7 Poetry Society of Virginia regions (Southeastern, Eastern, Northern, Northwestern, Central, Northern Central, and Western). Young Poets are selected for the relevance and quality of their poems and/or performance presence. More importantly, applicants must propose a project that they can carry out during the award year, one that specifically helps enhance awareness and appreciation of poetry in their immediate community (including but not limited to their schools) and its role as a tool for social change, community/civic engagement, and emotional well-being. This does not have to be a grand, large-scale project, but it must reach out to and invite the participation of others, using poetry as the central medium.


Young Poets in the Community (YPIC) was started by former Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria as a Poets Laureate Fellowship project sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, with support from the Mellon Foundation. Fellows are asked to take on meaningful, impactful, and innovative projects that engage fellow residents helping to address issues important to their communities and create new work. She used the fellowship stipend to launch YPIC. 

The YPIC program nurtures students who love, write and publish, and perform poetry, those who process their experiences through poetry or secretly write poetry and hide it under their mattresses.


We recognize poetry as an art that can help young people get through life challenges, whether they are the usual hurdles of growing up or the extreme struggles brought on by the global pandemic and other current events. 

Students accepted in the YPIC program develop a poetry project and seek out a mentor for support.

Vice President Cathy Hailey and PSV member Steve Bucher currently manage PSV's YPIC program. 

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Current Poet Laureate

Poetry in the Schools


Jae Dyche, Poetry in the Schools Director

Rita Dove once affirmed that "Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful." When we teach our students the value of poetry, we teach them the profound and awesome power of language.

Poetry is so much more powerful than words fixed on a page. It builds connections with others through sharing, community, and the power of language to bring folks together. Students begin to explore the world around them, ultimately becoming more well-rounded, attuned, and humanistic citizens in the progress.

The Poetry in the Schools initiative was launched as a project by Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda during her tenure as Virginia Poet Laureate. 

In the classroom, poetry is an invaluable tool across all ages—and the purpose behind Poetry Society of Virginia's Poetry in the Schools initiative.

Want help with ideas for including more poetry in your classroom? 

Connect with Poetry in the Schools Program Director, Jae Dyche.  

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