9-year-old from Harlem shines brilliantly as New York State’s Poet Laureate

Kayden Hern, a 9-year-old from Harlem, delivered a powerful original poem titled “In My Mind” at the inauguration of New York Governor Kathy Hochul. As the newly appointed poet laureate, Kayden’s words will be remembered for years to come.

His inspiration for the poem came from his grandmother, Jackie Hern, who encouraged him to write down his thoughts. In the poem, Kayden shares his experience of growing up in poverty and feeling unnoticed in school until his true potential was recognized.

Jackie always encouraged Kayden to dream and helped him process complex discussions about racism and society. Last year, Kayden met Governor Hochul while waiting to recite at the Apollo Theater.

The governor was impressed by his talent and promised him that he could recite at her inauguration if she was elected. She kept her word, and Kayden’s performance was a highlight of the event.

Kayden hopes his words will spread positivity and inspire others to follow their dreams. As he wisely said, “If you practice, you can do anything.” His grandmother and the governor’s support show that with encouragement and hard work, anyone can achieve greatness.