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Lafayette High School student named 2024 Lexington Youth Poet Laureate

Stock photo of a poetry notebook
Stock photo of a poetry notebook

A Lafayette High School student has been named the 2024 Lexington Youth Poet Laureate.

Five finalists, Zoya Abbas, Eva Alcaraz-Monje, Reyna Radhakrishnan, Sophie Watson, and Nina Tay shared their work in front of family, friends, and community members at Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Of them, 18-year-old Zoya Abbas was selected by a panel of judges.

Lexington Youth Poet Laureate Program Coordinator Jonathan Hall said Zoya is the perfect person to continue the work started by her predecessor, Olaoluwakiitan Adedeji.

The National Youth Poet Laureate focuses to identify, celebrate, and honor teen poets that show commitment to artistic excellence, civic engagement, youth leadership, and social justice.

Hall said the program was created to inspire others to share their story and make an impact in their community. He looks forward to seeing what Zoya will accomplish in this role.

Proud parents of Zoya, Amrita & Zahir Abbas said that she grew up surrounded by books and different art forms like music, writing, and photography.

“Added to this, her diverse cultural experiences through travel and living in multiple countries ensured the development of her keen observation skills and deep empathetic outlook, which reflects in her poetry.”

When asked about her new role, Zoya said it is an honor and a privilege.

“I hope through the duration of my tenure, I am able to guide the people around me to find the poet in themselves.”

See Poem Below, by Zoya Abbas.


Burn like the soils of my homeland

Burn like my skin when I would walk outside in July

Ashes in the sky

Pollution and smoke

Remnants of the celebration of the Festival of Lights

Ashes on a pyre


I’m the first daughter to come to America

I’ll be the first to graduate from an American college

First, a child of my motherland

Then, me.

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