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Student Spotlight – Yaiden P.

Amber capturing Yaiden’s words

On November 9th, there was a poem competition for students, “New York City Youth Poet Laureate”, in different schools and it was held at St. Francis College. One of UAM’s seniors, Yaiden was a participant of the competition.  


Yaiden (17) has been writing poetry ever since freshman year even though he wasn’t a fan of it. He writes poems about things that happened in the world and how it affects him and other people. 

The Poem

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For the poetry competition, his poem was about being trans. Yaiden describes the process stating, “Because so many people were going to be listening and it was a platform where I could just be, politically open. I felt like everybody in that room needed to hear something that meant something.” The reason for the poem is that he wanted to be open about himself and how important it is for him to speak up for himself and other people.

I didn’t realize that I needed to give a voice to my community, not only to my community, but to myself. Like, there’s so many trans people who do not have the words to say what they need to say. And I felt like because I could articulate it, it was my duty to do so.”

The Competition

This was Yaiden’s second poetry competition he’s participated in. Over the summer, he participated in a poetry slam. This time, however, he felt like this competition “was on a larger scale. I was even shocked to receive an email saying, I was a finalist. A lot of people in the entire city applied, only 10 were chosen. And to see that I was one of those people was, mind blowing.”

Yaiden described the competition as a very collaborative experience. “Being in a room with those people for weeks was like, insane! Collaborating with other poets, in a way that I’ve never collaborated before… you’re like getting actual feedback from people who do this, just like I do. And hearing, even arguing with such opinionated, young minds was crazy. Every single person that went on the stage, we were all cheering for. It felt more like a collaboration than a competition really, like we were building a family than anything else.”

Future Competitions?

In the future, Yaiden would like to join other poetry competitions even though he states, “the poetry community is quite small, so it’s hard to find those events. But if I was to find one, like listed right now, I would sign up immediately. I would jump at the opportunity to just be able to just speak my feelings out loud on a bigger platform.”

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About the Contributor
Amber Stanley
Amber Stanley is a 10th grader at UAM. Her favorite things to do are drawing and watching videos. She is nice, quiet, and sometimes nervous.
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    Lara BergenDec 11, 2023 at 9:26 am

    Congratulations, Yaiden! (Is it possible for Yaiden’s poem to be printed here, too? I’m so curious!)
    Thanks, UAM Hub!