KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Farragut High School student received a groundbreaking honor. Melody Dalili is the City of Knoxville’s first Youth Poet Laureate.
Dalili started writing poems in the third grade. It wasn’t until recently that the junior decided to step out of her comfort zone and perform spoken word poetry.
Her first poetry slam in August snowballed into other opportunities, including serving as a literary ambassador for the city. She credits several people for boosting her confidence as a writer.
Elizabeth Toth taught Dalili in her advanced creative writing class. Toth says she recognized her talent from day one.
“Convince her that her words deserve to be heard by other people, that they were important,” said Toth.
Dalili has at least 250 poems saved on her phone and a growing list of new works saved in Google Docs. She says her writing is inspired by her own personal experiences, which relate well to her audience.
The teen is constantly amazed by others’ responses to her poems. It’s her strong belief that poetry is a universal language.
“I love making connections with people and I love talking with people and I don’t think that there’s any better way to do it while also talking about my own experiences and being vulnerable and really putting myself out there which has been really hard,” said Dalili.
Dalili is already working on her second poetry book, which she hopes to publish soon.