Hobie Wolff

2023 Youth Poet Laureate of St. Louis

About me



A 17 year-old who grew up in Saint Louis city, Hobie Wolff is a poet who aims to capture different aspects of the human experience in her poetry. With subjects ranging from simple everyday moments to larger, front-page issues, Wolff hopes to use her poetry to open channels of discussion about current events, equity, human emotion, and personal, everyday experiences.

Drawing her inspiration from Ocean Vuong’s fragmented and impactful storytelling and Ada Limon’s ability to capture everyday moments and turn them into something beautiful, Wolff has been writing poetry for almost six years. She writes introspectively, trying to capture aspects of the human experience that are not often normalized or centralized such as grief, isolation, and mental illness. She uses her poetry as a platform to discuss current events and injustices she sees across her city and the nation. This can be seen in her discussion of the Delmar Divide in her poem “City of Houses.” She also uses her poetry to lay bare the adolescent experience of violence such as with her poem “October 24th.” Wolff continues to be active in her community through her workshops at other schools and the Spoken Word class she has been running through her school for two years. She plans to go to college on the west coast and hopes to continue her studies in Mandarin, photography, and literature as well as continuing to write and perform her poetry.


A City of Houses

I’m terrified that one day my house will be abandoned
every room turned dark, decrepit
Our memories forgotten.
To think that they could be abandoned so casually seems impossible
love should not be abandoned so casually
Yet, I live in a city of houses where people get left behind everyday
We are the proof
Forgotten houses line our blocks down every street
Torn curtains and peeling wallpaper
the living remnants of all that has been left behind
I can't help but imagine the memories stuck to exposed support beams
I wonder if that house knows it is abandoned.
No one cared enough to fix the window with a brick thrown through it
It doesn’t even look like a house anymore
A skeleton
Left behind its bones exposed ribs ripped open and its heart abandoned
I wonder what it could have looked like before
I wonder if the family still remembers to miss it
I hope they miss it
I don’t want people to forget to miss me I don’t want to be left alone to crumble in front of a highway
Boards plastered over the parts of me that aren’t whole enough
I was built to house people inside of my ribcage and support them in my palm
My walls made to be drawn on and my floors made to scratched
We should be loved until we fall apart
Not pushed away and left to crumble
I was built to be loved
Not to be left behind
But I live in a city of forgotten stories
A city of North and South
I live in a city of abandoned houses
Who we were built to be loved


You didn’t notice my house was burning down
What started as a well-concealed fire kindled in my attic
Somehow spread to the support beams that ran throughout the house
And it spread, oh how it spread
A symphony, each instrument playing its part perfectly
As I watch it burn from the inside out
The stairs and sofa engulfed in the orange and white blaze,
The rafters never stood a chance
The blaze danced and skipped across the floorboards licking up the ground
It was beautiful, that menagerie of reds, oranges, blues, and whites
As it ate up anything in its path
I confess
It was almost impressive how fast it all came to the ground
Standing in my ashy graveyard
the only thought is to admire the tenacity with which it burned
I watch the pieces of it float away into the gray sky,
scattering like birds heading north
They are beautiful those ghosts
A shell of what they once were, but beautiful
I drop my match And I wipe the ash from my hands And wonder how you could not have noticed in my eyes That I was burning from the inside out While I sat there admiring you I was burning And it was beautiful This apocalypse- no better way to go out Cause I’m scared of dying in my sleep- just disappearing into yesterday I wanted to burn
I wanted the schools to call snow days because of me and
I wanted to headline Because who doesn’t want to be remembered So watch my irises change,
watch them skip and dance as the rafters catch Listen to the popping and crashing of this beautiful wreckage As I burn finally burning watch as I disintegrate and float into the sky Blending with the clouds Let me make them a sunrise And let it be beautiful dance with me while I burn