High Schoolers Get Their Own Poet Laureate Donald Hall was named the United States' 14th poet laureate Wednesday, but he has competition. Later this month, James Monroe High School in the Bronx will honor its first-ever poet laureate... Tiffany Otero.

High Schoolers Get Their Own Poet Laureate

High Schoolers Get Their Own Poet Laureate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5491973/5492002" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Tiffany Otero
Tiffany Otero

Donald Hall was named the United States' 14th poet laureate Wednesday, but he's not the only game in town. Later this month, James Monroe High School in the Bronx will honor its first ever poet laureate, Tiffany Otero.

The laureateship was made possible by alumni Peter Levitt, who graduated from James Monroe in 1964 and wants to encourage kids in his old neighborhood. A few of Otero's poems follow.

A Black and White World

Looking at the world

it's black and white.

Staring at the sky

turning day to night.

Only thing that matters

is the cash in hand.

Can't pay the bills

Will we make a stand?

The ghettos are growing

Suburbia is dead

Every one's struggling

gone lost their heads

people praise weed

like they use to praise god

What happened to art?

Guess we forgot

Living in a world

filled with black and white

ain't worth a thing unless you were a tie

Rappers these days talk about nothing but junk

Rockers these days are a bunch of drunks

These are the heroes we made for our kids

Who knew the world would corrupt like this?

No one is safe

not anymore

Not when there are shootouts

right out your door

kids growing up so fast

If only their youth would last.

Then maybe the world

will stop the murders mass.

When you look at the world

In black and white it

seems like an eternal night

But maybe its time we learned

a little

maybe it could look much better.

If only we would see in color.

Untitled

Still Silent

Waiting to be of assistance,

The arch of its back,

The curve of the eyes.

Its shoulders stiff and erect.

Standing on its legs,

Wearing green cloth wrapped

In clear protection.

Its body is stiffened by its existence

It is absolutely still.

It has no voice nor thoughts.

The bars it bares behind it

which it will never see.

It is blind.

It is deaf.

Its body is cold and scared.

It has no particular attraction.

And yet men yearn for it.

the most interesting thing about it,

Is the you can never be sure

if I was talking about a chair

Or a woman.

They Call This Poem Confusing

Bees, thats what it sounds like.

Movements, wind breathing

Goofy, wacky.

Television

Fan

Lover

Typing

Sounds

Boom Boom Click click, slam

Ow.

Woom woom.

Sound

Squeezing against my face.

My palm, against my cheek.

My cheek against my teeth

My teeth against my young tongue.

My tongue against the roof of my mouth.

Attached to my empty head,

filled with non-sense.

Pathetic

Tired

Bored

Lonely

Confused

Thinking

Always thinking

Itching

Make it stop

Say something

say something

I can't

U can't

Stop

Stop

Just...

Stop.