Georgia Poet Laureate, Council for the Arts Announce 2022 Poet Laureate Prize Winner, Finalists

Staff Report

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

This week, Georgia’s Poet Laureate, Chelsea Rathburn, in collaboration with Georgia Council for the Arts, announced the winner and finalists of the ninth annual Poet Laureate’s Prize. The prize is awarded for an original poem written by a Georgia high school student. This annual program is designed to encourage students in grades nine through 12 to write original poems and engage in the art form of poetry. Students submitted poems during the 2021-2022 school year, and the students’ grade levels noted below reflect that time period.

Aran Sonnad-Joshi
“The Stargazer”
11th grade
Midtown High School


Emerson Keen
10th grade
Decatur High School

Isabel Liu
10th grade
Wheeler High School

JeongHyeon (Erica) Yun
“Mid-Summer Karaoke and I Want You to Look at Me”
11th grade
McIntosh High School
Peachtree City

Lydia Ruth Witter
“I Had a Good Time”
12th grade
Decatur High School

“Judging the Poet Laureate’s Prize is always difficult given the number of talented writers in high schools across the state, but it’s a rewarding challenge,” said Georgia Poet Laureate Chelsea Rathburn. “Reading this year’s submissions, I was reminded of poetry’s power to express complex insights and emotions in a small space, bringing personal experience to life for others. I’m thrilled to celebrate this year’s winner and finalists, and I suspect we’ll be reading more of their work in the future.”

Through a partnership with Atlanta Magazine, all winning and finalist poems are featured on its website. To read the poems, click here.

“Encouraging healthy self-expression and participation in the arts from a young age is an important part of the work we do at Georgia Council for the Arts, and the opportunity to partner with Georgia’s Poet Laureate and Atlanta Magazine each year is a highlight for our team,” said Georgia Council for the Arts Executive Director Tina Lilly. “We are grateful to all of the schools and teachers who encouraged students to participate this year, and we applaud each student who submitted their writing. All of the applicants should be commended for their work.”

All Georgia high school students are encouraged to participate in this annual competition. Details about the 2023 competition will be available on the Georgia Council for the Arts website in fall 2022. The annual submission deadline is at the beginning of spring. Click here to learn more about the program.