Meet Kayden Hern, the 9-year-old named poet laureate of Gov. Hochul's inaugural ceremony

Kemberly Richardson Image
Monday, January 2, 2023
9-year-old poet laureate speaks at Hochul's inaugural ceremony
Kayden Hern, 9-year-old poet laureate, received a personal invite from Gov. Kathy Hochul to speak during the inaugural ceremonies. Kemberly Richardson has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Kayden Hern received a personal invite from Gov. Kathy Hochul to serve as the poet laureate of her inaugural ceremonies Sunday.

The 9-year-old, an honor roll student from Harlem, said that he wasn't nervous at all reciting his poem.

"My strategy is I don't look at the crowd, I look straight ahead and think of the good things that happened to you," Hern said.

Accolades are now pouring in for the 4th grader whose family watched as he confidently commanded the stage.

"I was so overjoyed full of emotion I was the proudest grandmother in the world," his grandmother Jacqueline Hern said.

Jacqueline encouraged the 9-year-old to start penning poetry during the pandemic when he had deep concerns about what was happening in the world.

"People don't get treated right because of the color of their skin," Hern said.

He first met Hochul at the Apollo Theater last summer during one of the legendary venue's amateur nights.

He introduced himself, said he was a poet, and shared this piece of work with her.

"Who am I? A child, a Black male child wanting to live but not afraid to die," Hern said.

She then promised if she became governor, he would be at her swearing-in.

Hern said next he dreams of speaking for the president.

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