Youth Poet Laureate

In partnership with the Westwood Public Library's 21st Century Fund and the Westwood Cultural Council, the Town of Westwood is pleased to announce the selection of Westwood's Youth Poet Laureate.

On May 13, a unanimous Westwood Select Board appointed Elizabeth Lowney, Westwood High School Class of 2026, to the position of Westwood’s Youth Poet Laureate. On June 1, Lowney succeeds inaugural Youth Poet Laureate Lucie Sechler, a graduating Westwood High senior whose one-year term ends on May 31.

Lowney is especially interested in working with elementary school age children in poetry workshops and other poetry-centric events. Discussing her goals in the application, she wrote, “I strive to make a bigger difference in the Westwood community. One of my greatest goals in life is to leave the communities I am a part of better than I found them. I’ll use this platform to create new opportunities for aspiring writers such as myself, as well as to create a way for children to better express themselves through the written word.”

In April, a selection committee led by Westwood Poet Laureate Lynne Viti, in consultation with Westwood Library Director Elizabeth McGovern and Library Trustee Maria Ryan, reviewed Lowney’s application.  Viti interviewed her before the committee formally recommended her to the Select Board.

In a memo to the Select Board, Viti stated, “Based on Elizabeth's strong writing portfolio, her published writing, her teachers' recommendations, her performance at the High School Poetry Slam last April 25, and her interview with me, I'm delighted that our committee agreed she would be an excellent Youth Poet Laureate.”

The selection committee was especially impressed by the quality of Lowney’s original poetry, publication records, concrete plans to bring more poetry to the town and outstanding performance at the recent Westwood High Poetry Slam, where she placed third in a strong field of contenders. In addition to her focus on poetry, Lowney is a three- season athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and running track, a musician on percussion and piano in the WHS wind ensemble, and a member of the WHS robotics team. She is also a member of Westwood Girl Scouts.

The Westwood community will have an opportunity to hear Lowney read two of her poetic compositions from the main stage at this year’s Westwood Day, September 21, along with Westwood Poet Laureate Lynne Viti. Lowney will also perform her work at other public events in the town, and on national and local holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Town Founding Day. Beginning in June, her poem-of-the-month will be posted on the Westwood Library Youth Poet Laureate webpage.

Viti gives high marks to outgoing Youth Poet Laureate Lucie Sechler, who read at public events in town and co-produced the Children’s Poetry Festival last February, featuring small workshops and headliner poet Richard Blanco. Viti, confident that Lowney will prove to be an excellent successor in the position, notes, “We’re fortunate to have so much energy and talent among our youth poets in Westwood."

From the Westwood Minute article "WHS Sophomore Elizabeth Lowney is Selected as Westwood's Second Youth Poet Laureate".