The Office of Community Engagement is proud to support Iowa's local arts and writing initiatives through partnership opportunities with Arts Share. The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador program is one of many creative projects that Arts Share participates in throughout the year, helping connect students from local communities with opportunities to develop their skills and expand their impact through personal expression.
The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador
The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador (ISPA) program recognizes an outstanding, young writer and celebrates poetry and the literary arts in Iowa. Each year, ambassadors are chosen from a select group of students who participated in either the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Iowa Poetry Association, or Iowa City Poetry.
Through ISPA, Iowa youth will pursue their talents in poetry writing and the enjoyment of and engagement with poetry in our state will be enhanced. The Ambassador is chosen each year from a highly selective group of 11th graders and is inaugurated in the Law Library of the State Capitol in April as part of National Poetry Month.
The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador, an unpaid honor, is the highest award given to a young writer in the state. The title is designed to recognize and celebrate a talented student poet, who in turn, will validate and support the voices of young people in Iowa, and raise awareness of the literary arts.
The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador program is coordinated by the University of Iowa's Office of Community Engagement and is a collaboration of the following partner organizations:
- Arts Share
- Belin-Blank Center and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
- Humanities Iowa
- Iowa Arts Council
- Iowa City Poetry
- Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature
- Iowa Council of Teachers of English
- Iowa Library Association
- Iowa Poet Laureate Program
- Iowa Poetry Association
- State Library of Iowa
Johnnie Each is a senior at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, IA. In addition to her passion for writing poetry, she enjoys reading old books, watching movies, having philosophical discussions and spending time with her friends. She describes herself as someone who likes listening to Christmas music in September and who laughs unabashedly at her own jokes. She loves music with poetic lyrics, Indian food, her church and her family. She’ll be attending the University of Iowa in the fall to study Journalism and Creative Writing.
“Being the ISPA has meant so much to me; it showed me that words have a beautiful power and poetry even more so. It has inspired me to keep writing, because I know that my work reaches those around me.”