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Pleasant Valley High School student receives highest award given to young writer in Iowa

2024-25 Iowa Student Poet Ambassador selected for Outstanding Poetry

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Literary representatives from across the state selected award-winning young writer and poet Tanya Rastogi for Outstanding Poetry 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 Friday, April 26th.

Rastogi is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. Her art and writing are published or forthcoming in several literary magazines.

"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 Office of Community Engagement. "We are so pleased that Tanya will continue in what is now an impressive tradition set by previous ambassadors from across Iowa." Rastogi will be the fourth Student Poet Ambassador.

A committee of partner organizations 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 Nakashima-Brooke based on her ability to serve in an ambassadorial role.

Rastogi will be inaugurated in the Law Library at the State Capitol at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 26th, as part of National Poetry Month. Representatives from partner organizations will attend, and Iowa Poet Laureate Vince Gotera, outgoing ISPA Lola Nakashima-Brooke, and 2024-25 ISPA Tanya Rastogi will read poetry.

About Tanya Rastogi:
Tanya Rastogi is a student at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. 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. In 2023, she received a national Scholastic gold medal for her poem 'Three Generations'.

In school, Tanya is heavily involved in the music department--she plays flute in band and is a member of choir and jazz choir. When she isn't participating in some form of the arts, Tanya enjoys watching video essays and visiting cafes with her friends.

Meet Tanya in this video-interview with KQAD: click here for video. Tanya will join IPA LIVE during the Student Reading Celebration on June 12, 2024.

The University of Iowa's Office of Community Engagement coordinates the Iowa Student Poet Ambassador (ISPA) program, a collaboration between statewide partner organizations. ISPA, an unpaid honor and the highest award to a young writer in the state, is designed to recognize and celebrate a talented student poet, who, in turn, will validate and support the voices of young people in Iowa and raise awareness of the literary arts. ISPA's vision is that Iowa youth will pursue their talents in poetry writing while enhancing enjoyment and engagement with poetry across the state.

ISPA 2023-24 Lola Nakashima-Brooke
ISPA 2022-23 Johnnie Each
ISPA 2021-22 Shreya Khullar

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