Bettendorf student named Student Poet Ambassador

Literary representatives from across the state selected award-winning young writer and poet Tanya Rastogi from a pool of highly-talented high school students competing for the honor of being the 2024-25 Iowa Student Poet Ambassador (ISPA) and will be inaugurated in Des Moines on April 26.

Rastogi is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf. Her art and writing are published or forthcoming in several literary magazines including Gone Lawn, The Adroit Journal, Kalopsia Literary, and others. She is the founding editor of online journal The Seraphic Review.

“The ISPA program recognizes an outstanding young writer and celebrates poetry and the literary arts in Iowa,” said Jan Warren, ISPA Coordinator and Program Manager in the University of Iowa Office of Community Engagement. “We are so pleased that Tanya will continue in what is an impressive tradition set by previous ambassadors from across Iowa.” Rastogi will be the fourth Student Poet Ambassador.

A committee of partner organizations, including the Iowa City UNESO City of Literature, chose this year’s ISPA from a select group of high school students across Iowa who participated in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Iowa Poetry Association, or Iowa City Poetry. There were two rounds in the selection process. First, a blind reading and ranking of each student’s poetry, and then the committee selected Rastogi based on her ability to serve in an ambassadorial role.

Rastogi will be inaugurated in the Law Library at the State Capitol at 10 a.m. on April 26, as part of National Poetry Month. Representatives from partner organizations will attend. Iowa Poet Laureate Vince Gotera, outgoing ISPA Lola Nakashima-Brooke, and Rastogi will read poetry.