Tanya Bachu already reads each of her new poems to her family and a few neighbors. She’ll now be able to share her work across the state as Nebraska’s new youth poet laureate for 2022-23.
It’s something she’s very excited about doing.
“I try to write in a way that everyone around me can understand and connect to,” said Bachu, a freshman at Brownell Talbot. “I just write whatever I feel in the moment.”
The Youth Poet Laureate Program is a national network, championed by Urban Word NYC. It produces writers like 2021 inaugural poet Amanda Gorman.
As Nebraska’s youth poet laureate, Bachu will receive yearlong guidance from a creative and civic mentor, give readings in Nebraska and complete a civic engagement community project of her own design, with financial support from the Nebraska Writers Collective. Bachu also wins $1,000.
Bachu had to submit a résumé, five poems and a 500-word essay about her community involvement. She was selected from among five finalists.
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“Tanya was selected as the next Youth Poet Laureate of Nebraska because she is more than a poet with fierce, literary precision — she is an incredible leader impacting communities around her through scientific research and the intentional practice of kindness,” said Gina Tranisi, program director for the Nebraska Writers Collective. “She is the right leader for this state — a brilliant wordsmith with a strong sense of self and a relentless desire to leave things just a little better than she found them.”
Bachu said she’s been writing poems and short stories for several years and found it fun.
However, math and science are her favorite subjects and she hopes to follow a career in a medical field. She also plays tennis and the piano, volunteers at a hospital near her home de ella in the Elkhorn area, does speech and robotics and is vice president of her class. She began her own tutoring organization in eighth grade.
It takes months for her to write a poem because she’s constantly honoring every line. Ella’s older sister, Bavishya, a senior at Brownell, gives her lots of feedback.
“She usually tells me what she hates about it and tells me how to fix it,” Bachu said.
She’ll write about nature and the changing of the seasons. Her favorite poem by Ella is one that she wrote about what she liked about herself. That’s hard for people to do, she said, because they don’t want to sound cocky.
Bachu said that for her community project, she plans to focus on bettering the education in schools that don’t have as many opportunities as others.