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Margarita Engle, Young People’s Poet Laureate, Celebrates National Poetry Month in Chicago

As part of the Poetry Foundation celebration of Young People’s Poetry Day, Engle will read from several of her books
March 21, 2018
Image of the poet Margarita Engle.

CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poetry Day is April 28 at the Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior Street, from 10AM–1PM. Margarita Engle, the 2017–2019 Young People’s Poet Laureate, reading in both English and Spanish from several of her published books, will explore the idea of bridges as a metaphor for hope. Activities will include a poetry scavenger hunt, crafts, poetry writing, and rhythm and percussion with the Old Town School of Folk Music. This event is free and open to youth and their caregivers.

“I love to write about young people who made hopeful choices in situations that seemed hopeless,” says Engle. “My own hope is that tales of courage and compassion will ring true for youthful readers as they make their own difficult decisions in modern times.”

Margarita Engle was born in Pasadena, California, to a Cuban mother and an American father. She earned a BS from California State Polytechnic University and an MS from Iowa State University, and she studied for her doctoral degree in biology at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of many verse novels including The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom (2008), a Newbery Honor winner. Her newest picture books are The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar (2018) and Miguel's Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote (2017). She was named Young People’s Poet Laureate in June of 2017.

“Margarita’s writing, and stage presence when she reads, captivates young people. The vivid imagery in her historical novels makes reading them feel like time travel,” says Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director. “She’s been an inspiring Young People’s Poet Laureate.”

Engle is the first Latino to serve as Young People’s Poet Laureate. She developed a deep attachment to her mother’s home country of Cuba during childhood summers there with relatives. These trips to Cuba sparked Engle’s literary imagination and had a great influence on her writing.

About Young People’s Poet Laureate
Chosen by the Poetry Foundation for a two-year term, the Young People’s Poet Laureate aims to raise awareness that young people have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them.

About National Poetry Month – April 2018
National Poetry Month started as a way to increase awareness of poetry and its contributions to American letters. The Academy of American Poets started the month-long celebration in 1996.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

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POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070

Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Burke-Dain, Director of Media and Marketing, 312.799.8016
Amy Christenson, Media Consultant, 312.209.9531 

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