Wednesday, April 6, 2022

On Friday, April 22, Cedar Rapids Prairie junior Johnnie Each will be inaugurated in Des Moines as the 2022 Iowa Student Poet Ambassador (ISPA).

Each will be inaugurated in the State Capitol Rotunda at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 22, as part of National Poetry Month.  Representatives from partner organizations will also be in attendance and poetry will be read by the inaugural Iowa Student Poet Ambassador, Shreya Khullar, as well as Each as the 2022 ISPA. 

“The Poet Ambassador program recognizes an outstanding, young writer and celebrates poetry and the literary arts in Iowa,” sys Jan Warren, assistant director for Student Services at the Belin-Blank Center in the University of Iowa College of Education, and coordinator of the Iowa Scholastic Writing Awards. “We are so pleased that Ms. Each will continue in what is now an impressive tradition set by our inaugural Student Poet Ambassador, Shreya Khullar.”

The ambassador was chosen from a select group of students who participated in either the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards or the Iowa Poetry Association. There were two rounds in the selection process: first, a blind reading and ranking of each student’s poetry, and then a selection committee made up of individuals from the partner organization selected Ms. Each based on her ability to serve in an ambassadorial role.  Each earned multiple gold medals at both the regional and national level in this year’s Scholastic competition for her poetry. She is also the recipient of the Paul Engle Essay Contest, sponsored by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.

Johnnie Each
Johnnie Each

In addition to her passion for writing poetry, Each enjoys reading old books, watching movies, having political and philosophical discussions, and hanging out with friends. She describes herself as someone who likes listening to Christmas music in September and who laughs unabashedly at her own jokes. She loves music with poetic lyrics, Indian food, her church, and her family. She is planning on studying English and Creative Writing after graduation.

The Iowa Student Poet Ambassador program is a collaboration of the following partner organizations:

  • Belin-Blank Center and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
  • Iowa Arts Council
  • Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature
  • Iowa Library Association
  • Iowa Poet Laureate Program
  • Iowa Poetry Association
  • State Library of Iowa/Iowa Center for the Book
  • University of Iowa Arts Share
Debra Marquart
Debra Marquart

During the April 22 event at the Iowa State Capitol, poetry will also be read by the Iowa Poet Laureate, Debra Marquart. Marquart is a distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Iowa State University. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment and in the Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. Marquart is Iowa’s Poet Laureate and the Senior Editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment.  The author of six books, Marquart has two books forthcoming in 2021: Gratitude with Dogs Under Stars: New & Collected Poems and The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays Between Exile & Belonging.