Alexandra Huynh, 18, is the new National Youth Poet Laureate (via Concho Valley Homepage)

An incoming first-year student at Stanford University has been named the new National Youth Poet Laureate.

Alexandra Huynh, 18, is a second-generation Vietnamese American from Sacramento, California, who sees poetry both as a means to self-expression and social justice.

“I spend a lot of time in my head, so poetry is for me a sort of survival mechanism,” Huynh said Thursday night during a telephone interview from her home. “I wouldn’t be able to move through the world with the same amount of clarity had I not worked it out first on the page.”

Her appointment to a one-year term was announced Thursday during a virtual ceremony presented by the Kennedy Center and by the literary arts and development organization Urban Word, which established the national youth laureate program in 2017. In her new position, she will visit with students and hold workshops around the country. She counts among her goals passing on her own experiences to others.

Huynh was selected from among four regional finalists for a position first held by Amanda Gorman, who became an international celebrity in January after reading at President Joe Biden’s inauguration and for Huynh became an inspiration.

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