Greenburgh Youth Poet Laureate Hopes to Inspire Other Teens

Asa Miller

After receiving an email from his English teacher about the town of Greenburgh’s brand new position on the Arts and Culture committee, 16 year old Asa Miller of Hartsdale applied to be the town’s first ever Youth Poet Laureate, believing that it would be a “fun position to take part in”. After submitting some of his own poetry, and attending an interview with his now-boss, Sarah White, Miller was happily accepted. While this will be his first time in a public role, he still has high ambitions. He, along  with White, will use this position to create activities that will educate teens and children about poetry, and encourage those who are passionate to pursue it. Miller feels like he has an obligation to do so after being accepted into this new role. He also plans on reading poetry at public events.  

The high school junior has been writing poetry from a young age, and it even won him a place at the 2023 Young Author’s conference for Westchester and Putnam. He was one of only ten in his age group to attend. Poetry influences all aspects of his life. Miller describes his scuba diving, as well as notes coming together to create music “almost poetic, in  a way”. He doesn’t believe that poetry just comes from words, but also from sounds, smells and all of the other senses we experience. This is how he finds poetry in his piano playing, the coral reefs he sees when he scuba dives, lacrosse, and delicious smells. Miller believes that poetry has changed his perspective on life, causing him to look at all things in a more poetic light, and that it has led him to see meaning in every event in his life. 

Along with his experiences underwater, and other more artistic experiences, Miller cites one of his inspirations to be poet Walt Whitman, more specifically the poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”, which tells the story of an astronomy student who grows to truly understand astronomy when he looks up at the stars at night. Miller says that he relates to the student. This unique way of learning is reflected on how he feels when writing poetry, and how he aspires to teach poetry to others with his new position. He believes that poetry is not about finding a certain rhythm or structure, but finding what makes sense to the individual. According to Miller, there are infinite styles and methods of writing, so if a teen or young child is interested in poetry, they should  “just start writing.” and stop thinking of typical poetic conventions such as rhyme, just as ‘the Learn’d Astronomer’ figured out astronomy by taking it into his own hands.  

After being sworn in on September 13th, the 16 year old will be in the role for two years, covering his final two years of high school. The end of his time in office, however, will be far from the end of his poetic career. Miller plans on consistently writing and loving poetry all his life, with topics such as his diving and lacrosse being ones he will continue to pursue, even if he won’t be working with the same people. Hopefully, this new position from the Greenburgh Arts and Culture committee, along with Miller’s shaping of what the future of the Youth Poet Laureate title will be, will help Greenburgh teens and children find a love of writing poetry, and find inspiration in the everyday, just like Asa Miller has.   


Asa Miller, 2023

The Big Apple has a rotten core.

Cars honk
Cabbies yell
Crude commuters
Fan this flaming hell.

The Empire State Building.
Does it ascend, or are we descending?
Does its top reach for the stars
Or is its poke more condescending?

Still-burning cigarettes
So carelessly tossed aside
Fill this ashtray of a city
In which we all reside.

Still I am convinced that
A bruised apple tastes sweet.
And the cacophony of cabbies
Plays a symphony on the street.

This endless descent won’t last forever.

These nearly burnt-out cigarettes
Haven’t lost
Their embers.

Charlotte Fuchs is a junior at Irvington High School 

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended For You

About the Author: Charlotte Fuchs