HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – At 23 years old, Margaret Daramola made history as the state of Virginia’s youngest poet laureate.
“It’s been a great experience, but it’s also been just me getting used to actually being the poet laureate,” she said.
Daramola is from Switzerland, and attended Hampton University, studying English with a minor in History. She was also a student-athlete and played on Hampton’s volleyball team.
Daramola said it was important to her to find something outside of sports that she could enjoy.
“For athletes, we spend so much of our time and our life is dedicated to our sport, but I was intentional from the beginning of just finding out what else I liked. And it’s always been reading writing poetry and books,” she said.
More than a weeks before Daramola was set to walk across the stage at her graduation, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that he was appointing her as the newest poet laureate.
“I had the privilege of hearing Ms. Daramola first-hand at the investiture of Hampton University’s President Darrell Williams this past March and was greatly impressed by her presence and passion,” Youngkin said. “Virginians will be honored to have such a talented poet represent us as Laureate.
As the poet laureate, Daramola will write poems for events on behalf of the state and will serve a two-year term.
Daramola said she began writing when she was in middle school, but didn’t start taking poetry seriously until she was in high school. Daramola also credits Hampton University for allowing her to build on her love for poetry.
“I’ve written poems that have to do with maybe a specific topic, and then also I’ve written poems about myself. So not every poem I write whether spoken word or written poetry has anything to do with me. And I think that’s something I really enjoyed about being able to write, was being able to get into another character’s mind feelings. But my poems usually have talk about like love, or they have some emotional aspect to it. And I also try to use references like extended metaphors, and biblical references as well,” she said.
Daramola has published a book called “A Pathway Through Survival.” She also does spoken word poetry.
Daramola has advice to anyone looking to take their passion for poetry to the next level.
“I would say just keep going. There’s been there been so many obstacles, at my time at Hampton, even before Hampton, and I just kept going. I kept my faith and my trust in the Lord. And he has really been there for me. And I would just say just keep going. Keep using your gift,” she said.
Daramola said she gets sworn in as poet laureate on May 19 in Alexandria.