Meet Teen Poet Annie Castillo

April is National Poetry Month. Here's a local poet you should know.

Castillo with actress Alfre Woodard. Photo by Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Most teenagers don’t swoon while comparing Shakespeare to Wilfred Owen’s meditations on the violence of war. But George Mason High School junior Annie Castillo isn’t most teenagers. “When I read Owen’s work next to [Shakespeare’s] great professions of love, I think, My god, this is poetry!” says the Falls Church native. Last summer, in recognition of her own work, Castillo received the country’s highest honor for young poets when, during a ceremony at the Library of Congress, she was named one of five National Student Poets by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Her ambassadorship runs until August 2018. Who are her muses? Castillo credits past teachers, along with her 87-year-old grandfather, Jorge Castillo, who has often sent her poems and read verse to her over the phone. “I think [poetry] has been a secret passion of his all along,” she says.

An excerpt from Annie Castillo’s poem “On the Discovery of Dinosaurs,” courtesy of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers:

I used to think of the dinosaurs who

became bones and shadow.

Now I think of the ones who

unearthed the bones

so time’s raw sunlight

could touch those ghosts.


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Categories: People