Bearden junior Voyles selected as Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate


Junior Virgil Voyles is Knoxville’s new Youth Poet Laureate.

Junior Virgil Voyles has been named this year’s Knoxville Youth Poet Laureate.

Voyles was selected as one of three finalists to share their writing at the youth poetry slam at Central Cinema on April 25 and won the award after sharing multiple poems throughout the competition.

They took advanced creative writing with Mrs. Autumn Suranofsky, who inspired them to continue writing outside of class. 

“I wrote a poem that I was very proud of, so I went to Mrs. Suranofsky and told her I wanted to submit some of my work somewhere,” Voyles said. “She helped me make my application.”

Mrs. Suranofsky describes Voyles as “confident, passionate, and dedicated to the craft of writing.” 

The event was hosted by the previous Knoxville Poet Laureate Rhea Carmon. The students went through multiple rounds of competition before the final three contestants read their poems in front of an audience. 

“I really did enjoy getting to read my work for people,” Voyles said. “I have been writing for several years, and I wrote a very angry poem that everyone was very receptive to. I really liked being able to stand in front of a crowd and share my thoughts and feelings.”