Tarrant County Youth Poet Laureate Named

The first Tarrant County Youth Poet Laureate for 2023 was recently named in a ceremony hosted at TCC Trinity River. April Lynn Pelton, a teen author and poet passionate about sharing her love for reading and writing with others, received the award. She has written and published three books, “An Enchanted Tale with a Twist,” “I AM, I CAN, I WILL,” and “The Grove of 100 Wishes.” She is currently working on several books, with a soon-to-be-released poetry book that she has worked on with her grandfather, who is also a writer and poet. She will go on to compete regionally and nationally.

“Winning this award means I have a bigger platform to inspire and impact others,” Pelton said. “My goal in life, whether with my business or poetry, is to impact someone else positively, so they can do the same for others.  It’s like the domino effect; when one domino is knocked over, the others fall in place.  Sometimes, people need a good nudge in the right direction.  It’s all about helping them see the good already around and within them.”

TCC Trinity River President Sean Madison conveyed his enthusiasm regarding TCC’s collaboration with community partners, including the Fort Worth Public Library, to initiate the National Youth Poet Laureate program in Tarrant County. This collaboration is driven by a shared belief in the “transformative power of the spoken word.” Madison underscored the significance of involving “young individuals with literature and poetry, noting that it cultivates essential college readiness skills like critical thinking, effective communication, and creative expression. These are skills that both students and college graduates will apply throughout their higher education journey and professional careers.”

Richard Chance, dean of Community Education & Engagement, said, “This competition transcends mere words; it is a testament to the transformative impact of education, artistic expression, and community engagement.”

The National Youth Poet Laureate distinction was founded by Urban Word, an organization that “champions youth voice by providing platforms for literacy, self-expression, civic engagement, and leadership through free creative writing, college prep workshops, and performance opportunities” according to their website.  The National Youth Poet Laureates are committed to artistic excellence, civic engagement and social impact.

“For the youth of our community, the Tarrant County Youth Poet Laureate award ceremony is more than an event,” Chance continued. “It is an opportunity to find their voices, connect with fellow poets and leave an indelible mark on the literary landscape of our county. By acknowledging and celebrating their creative endeavors, we empower these young poets to envision a future where their works can spark change, inspire empathy and shape a better world for all.”