Teen Poet Laureate

Maya Lyumbomirsky is eager to share her passion for writing.

The Foothill senior plans to spread her enthusiasm about the written word as Pleasanton's teen poet laureate.

"I wanted to apply because I write a lot," Maya said of the honorary position. "It would be a nice way to express myself and also because I really want to help other writers realize there's something they can do to express themselves."

Maya applied this summer to be one of the city's two teen poet laureates, one from each comprehensive high school. She found out about the position from Foothill's prior poet.

"I was looking for writing competitions and there are hardly any," she explained. "I want to give people an opportunity to express their talents."

Maya prefers writing poetry and short stories, adding that the Amador teen poet laureate prefers short stories.

"I really hope to let kids know that writing is a recognized thing," Maya said. "I saw all these artists and musicians getting their chance to shine, and I was just there. I wrote privately. I hope to give writers other opportunities to get out there."

Maya was pleasantly surprised to learn the city's two teen poet laureates are given quite a bit of leeway in deciding how best to spread the word about the written word. She and her Amador cohort have already planned an elementary school poetry writing contest and two open microphone nights for older students.

Maya will also host a separate Foothill-only open mic night in the spring.

"I encourage others to apply because it's really fun," she said. "You have a lot of power. This is a position you can use if you really want to help or do something. We plan it, they (city staffers) carry it out. It's nice knowing we have that power as teenagers."

Maya's passion for the written word started at a young age when she was smitten with books.

"I've loved reading from an extremely young age," she said. "As I got older and saw people doing creative things, I decided i wanted to do creative things. I've been writing since freshman year. It's something nice as a hobby, a creative outlet."

Maya is thrilled about being chosen to represent the city creatively for her senior year.

"I was so happy because it felt like my passion was being validated," she said. "Before, it was something I did in my room, but now it's a real thing that I can be proud of."

Story by Zoe Francis
Posted Nov. 28, 2014