Angel Gardner used to be homeless. She says it's hard to count how many places she's lived in her 20 years. 34 is her closest estimate. But after being named Seattle's Youth Poet Laureate brought stability to her life.

"Before this, I did have a lotta doubts about my writing. People know I don't like a lotta the stuff I write. But I think after winning the poet laureate, I was like, 'Oh you're good. You can accept that. You can go with it,'" she says.

With a gentle nudge from friends at New Horizons Shelter in Seattle, she decided to enter the contest.

"Everyone's like oh well that actually sounds good. And I was like good enough to keep doing it? They're like yeah you should keep doing it."

She'll read her work at a live podcast with Sherman Alexie February 17.