The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Argo Asks: Boston Youth Poet Laureate Parker-Vincent Alva (III)

(Source: Alex Le (III))

Q: What is the job of the Youth Poet Laureate?

A: The Youth Poet Laureate as it is described to me is a ceremonial position within the City of Boston’s government to elevate the status of poetry in the city and just in the state of Massachusetts as a whole. I’ll be able to publish a book and that will get read in all the library systems. I’ll work a lot with younger kids and teenagers as well as doing writing workshops and other things around schools. I’ll be the keynote speaker at some events with the mayor. It’s really just about raising the status of poetry and about literature in the public and the government as a whole.

Q: Why did you want this position?

A: It was just something that was very interesting to me and just felt like a natural progression of what I wanted. The idea that I could publish a book was obviously very appealing to me as I want to be published in the future and I want to do this for my job. But it was also about connecting more with teenagers and kids and adults who also were writers or wanted to be writers and had a similar passion to me. And it was a position I found particularly interesting because I was someone who didn’t like poetry or writing at all until eighth grade. I really enjoy the idea of making poetry and literature more exciting for kids that were my age so they didn’t have to hate it at first like I did.

Q: How do you plan to connect with the youth of Boston through this position?

A: I have a lot of ideas. I’m pretty sure I’m going to overhaul the curriculum that we teach creative writing in now in elementary schools and maybe middle schools. I’m going to organize a lot of workshops or library programming, where people can go to free writing workshops. There could also be a spotlight on certain poetry books or other creative writing books and materials. I would want to get out there and go to different neighborhoods and connect with those kids. Go to elementary schools and talk with kids who are younger than me and know what people want and are excited about for how they want to learn about creative writing themselves.

Q: What got you interested in poetry and applying it in this way?

A: I was never really interested in poetry at all until seventh or eighth grade, but it started because my friend was a songwriter. Oftentimes, she would send me her songs and I would read them. We would talk about them, so I started writing songs as well. They started evolving out of songs and more into poetry and I started realizing that it could be interesting or exciting to write something besides fiction or songs. Poetry is such an interesting medium and genre that you can do anything with, so as I started exploring more of what I could write, I moved very far into poetry and away from everything else. Once you get so deeply into it, it’s just exciting to see what else you can do with your words. And there are so many opportunities to open up when you are very passionate about one thing.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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