https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/arts-culture/3810750-9-year-old-harlem-student-becomes-new-york-state-poet-laureate/





9-year-old Harlem boy is New York’s poet laureate








































Enrichment Arts & Culture

“In my mind, I used to be a child of poverty, not knowing that hopes and dreams can become reality,” said Kayden Hern.

Story at a glance


  • Kayden Hern, 9, spoke as poet laureate at the inauguration of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on New Year’s Day.

  • He performed a piece he wrote titled, “In My Mind.” 

  • Kayden said his next poem is for the president. 

HARLEM, N.Y. (WPIX) – The new year welcomes many new beginnings. It’s a time for promises and speeches from politicians. But it’s the words of 9-year-old Kayden Hern, of Harlem, that are echoing across the world.

Kayden spoke as poet laureate at the inauguration of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on New Year’s Day, performing a piece he wrote titled, “In My Mind.” 

He told WPIX his grandmother, Jackie Hern, provided some of the initial inspiration, saying she told him to write his thoughts down. 

“In my mind, I used to be a child of poverty, not knowing that hopes and dreams can become reality. In my mind, I thought it was fine to sit in the back of the classroom because my teacher never asked me to read or write. But little did she know I was ever so bright,” Kayden wrote. 

He was waiting to go inside the Apollo Theater last year when he met the governor. Hochul was making an official appearance and spoke with him. 

“There’s a long line around the block, and I saw this young man standing there. I said, ‘You’re going in to watch somebody?’ He says, ‘No, I’m a poet. I’m going to go recite,’” the governor said during her inaugural address. 

Hochul promised him an invitation to speak at her inauguration as her poet laureate if she was elected, and she kept her word. Kayden said his next poem is for the president. 

“If you … practice, you can do anything,” he said.

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