A new student poetry fellowship will help one Seattle teen refine their work and -- before the age of 20 -- publish a collection of poems.

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A new student poetry program will award one Seattle teenager a year of public performances and appearances culminating with a book deal to publish a collection of his or her work.

The Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Program, a project of the Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program, is looking for Seattle teenagers between 14 and 19 years old who write verse in any form, including sonnets, spoken word performances and rap.

“Anyone who is putting his or her voice out there, or has something to say in a poetic way, is eligible,” said Jeanine Walker, Writer in the Schools director.

Among the qualities the group is looking for: a powerful voice, leadership, and a love of Seattle. A passion for social issues and volunteering are also big pluses, Walker said. Eight finalists will be picked by a panel of writers affiliated with the Writers in the Schools program, including Walker, and all the finalists will perform at Cornish Playhouse on May 23.

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But only one of the eight will be named Seattle’s first youth poet laureate. That teenager will perform throughout the city next year, be mentored by two Seattle poets, and will have a collection of poetry published by Penmanship Books, a New York-based publisher.

The project is based on a similar contest in New York City called Urban Word, Walker said, and it’s about more than the book deal.

It’s about giving a talented student an opportunity to practice their poetry, she said, and to inspire other young people to do the same.

Applications are due April 24. For more information or to apply, visit the Seattle Arts and Lectures website.