Pennsylvania teenage poet Isabella Hanson lifts black voices and wins international award

CHADDS FORD, Pa. — “When I was a freshman in high school, I had heard about the murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,” said 16-year-old Isabella Hanson.

Her emotions of sadness, distress and helplessness materialized in the form of writing poetry.

“I was getting to know all of these incredible poets and how they use poetry to, for example, express themselves,” Hanson said.

That’s why she created the “I Matter” poetry contest in 2020. In the first year, Hanson received around 150 submissions from students around the world. By 2022, that number had grown to over 700. This year’s entry window recently closed, making way for the 2023 competition to open.

“I’m really excited to start reading all the poems and seeing the amazing work that kids around the world have done,” Hanson said.

Each year, Hanson takes the top 10 poems and produces a hardcover book. As she travels, she makes efforts to visit libraries and donate copies. His last trip was to London, fitting the latest entry in his long list of awards.

Hanson’s pageant was so successful that she became the recipient of the 2022 Diana Prize, which recognizes inspiring young people from the UK and around the world.

While visiting the UK, Hanson held a workshop to teach children about the messages conveyed in her poetry collections.

“It was just amazing how my competition reached a whole different country and how I was able to be there and watch it grow,” she said.

Hanson dreams of studying business and poetry, potentially becoming a writer or journalist in the future.

To learn more about the “I Matter” mission, visit their website.

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