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Queens Chronicle

St. John’s poet at mayoral ceremony

Ramana reads her ode to the city

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:57 am, Thu Jan 16, 2014.

A freshman at St. John’s University in Jamaica read one of her poetry offerings at the swearing-in ceremony of Mayor di Blasio in Manhattan on Jan. 1.

Ramya Ramana of Centereach, LI, was named the city’s youth poet laureate for 2014 in October and was selected to take part in the mayor’s inauguration. Her original poem, titled “New York City,” was dedicated to the new mayor and included such evocative lines about the city as, “It is coffee-colored children playing hop scotch on what is left of a sidewalk.”

Ramana, 18, got rave reviews for her performance from the dailies with such lines as “a show-stopping performance,” “The crowd was rapt” and she received “some of the loudest applause.”

Aside from taking the youth poet laureate title last fall, Ramya also won the Kicks poetry slam, which awarded her a full scholarship to St. John’s. She is studying philosophy and government and politics.

As youth poet laureate, Ramana will work this year with the city’s Campaign Finance Board’s voter education campaign in an attempt to reach young voters. She plans to pursue a career as a community organizer and activist for human rights and social justice.

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