'I hope we grow tender enough, again.' Seattle's Youth Poet Laureate captures Seattle's growing pains
Azura Tyabji says the city’s rapid growth this last year embodies her own childhood.
When KUOW asked Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate to write a poem looking back at 2018, Tyabji came up with "206," a reflection of the changes both she and the city experienced.
To find the structure for the poem, 18-year-old Tyabji says she had to dig into her childhood memories of the city to tell the story of Seattle and herself. She looked at what she and her hometown had in common — and how they are growing up alongside each other.
Seattle’s area code, 206, also happens to be the number of bones in the human body after adolescence. The poet wanted to capture how the city, along with her body and identity, are intertwined.
"Seattle feels like an adolescent to me because it’s going through so many rapid changes and it’s trying to reinvent itself with tech and being a global city," Tyabji said. "But who’s being left behind in such a transformation?"
The poet described some of her most visceral and emotional memories of the year. There the summer that looked dystopian with wildfire smoke, the friends of hers who either had to move out of Seattle or desperately searched for affordable housing, and hundreds of sweeps of the city’s homeless camps.
Read Tyabji's full poem below.