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Houston have named this queer teen Youth Poet Laureate

Houston have named this queer teen Youth Poet Laureate

Neal Jackson youth poet laureatte houston

Houston has named queer teen Jackson Neal as their Youth Poet Laureate.

The 19-year-old University of Houston student plans to use his new position to highlight stories overlooked in Houston and ‘splash them across the city.’

Posting on Twitter about his appointment, he said: ‘Secret’s out! I am so excited to be your newest Houston Youth Poet Laureate.

‘All of my heart to this city and the teachers that have brought me here. Here’s to making spaces for the art and voices of Houston. Here’s to poetry and all of its light.’

With the one-year position, he receives a scholarship, publication in the Houston Chronicle, and mentorship from Houston’s Poet Laureate, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton.

Shining a light on untold stories

Neal’s poetry grapples with the struggles of the LGBTI community, including violence against gay men and the fear of growing older.

He is a slam poetry champion, having won the City Grand Slam Championship in 2017 and 2018.

Speaking to Out Smart Magazine, he said: ‘What most excites me about this position is the opportunity to expand the ways we tell stories in Houston.

‘A poem is so much more than the words it’s made of – it’s a breath, a spirit, a song in the spine, and I want to make it irresistible. Our city is full of so many rich histories and legends that need to be celebrated.

‘As the Houston Youth Poet Laureate, I want to find the stories we often overlook and splash them on every street in H-town.’

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