Davenport student named 2023-24 Iowa Student Poet Ambassador

Davenport high school student Lola Nakashima-Brooke has been named the Iowa Student Poet Ambassador (ISPA) for 2023-24.

Nakashima-Brooke, a junior at Davenport Central High School, will be inaugurated in Des Moines on Friday, April 28. She will become the third ISPA.

A committee of partner organizations chose this year’s ISPA from a select group of high school students across Iowa. Nominees  participated in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, or programming by the the Iowa Poetry Association or Iowa City Poetry. There were two rounds in the selection process. A blind reading and ranking of each student’s poetry was followed by an interview that determined the student’s ability to serve in an ambassadorial role.

Nakashima-Brooke was an intern in the Midwest Writing Center’s Young Emerging Writers Program in 2021 and 2022 and has been published in the Atlas literary magazine as well as her school literary magazine, Indigo Ink.

“The ISPA program recognizes an outstanding young writer and celebrates poetry and the literary arts in Iowa,” said ISPA Coordinator Jan Warren. “We are so pleased that Lola will continue in what is now an impressive tradition set by previous ambassadors Shreya Khullar and Johnnie Each.”

Nakashima-Brooke will be inaugurated in the Law Library at the State Capitol at 10 a.m. on April 28, as part of National Poetry Month. Representatives from partner organizations will attend, and Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart, outgoing ISPA Johnnie Each, and Nakashima-Brooke will read poetry.

The ISPA program is a partnership among several organizations across the state: Arts Share, Belin-Blank Center and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Humanities Iowa, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa City Poetry, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, Iowa Council of Teachers of English, Iowa Library Association, Iowa Poet Laureate Program, Iowa Poetry Association, and the State Library of Iowa.

For more information, please visit engagement.uiowa.edu/ispa.