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#TXBookChat with National Student Poet of the Southwest: Texan Kechi Mbah 


A portrait photograph of Kechi Mbah
Kechi Mbah is a senior at Carnegie Vanguard High School and a Houston native. She founded her school’s poetry club in late 2019 and serves as an editor for her school’s award-winning literary magazine, The Courtyard. She first found a love for poetry when she stumbled upon a YouTube video of a Brave New Voices slam competition in the fall of 2019 and has been performing and writing poetry ever since. Her poetry explores many avenues from making the known strange to chronicling her experiences as a Nigerian-American and the histories of her people. She is also passionate about strengthening her community and serves on the activism and community outreach committee of her school’s Black Student Union and has interned with NASA to help address problems within the food supply chain. She advanced to the semifinals of the 2020 Space City Slam (Houston’s largest teen slam competition) before it was canceled due to Covid-19, and her work can be found (or is forthcoming) in Blue Marble Review, The Incandescent Review, elementia, and elsewhere.

Kechi is the 2021 National Student Poet for the Southwest.


Logo of the the About the National Student Poets Program, with text in purple and the word Poets in yellowAbout the National Student Poets Program: The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partner to present the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for young poets (grades 10–11) creating original work. Annually, five students are selected for one year of service, each representing a different geographic region of the country. The program believes in the power of youth voices to create and sustain meaningful change and supports them in being heard.


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Page last modified: February 1, 2023