Philadelphia, September 10, 2012 – Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) has released the application materials for the selection of Philadelphia’s first Youth Poet Laureate. A position complimenting the city’s Poet Laureate, the Youth Poet Laureate is to be selected from among youth attending high school who reside within the City of Philadelphia. The individual chosen for this position will be given the opportunity to develop his or her talents in poetry and will help promote poetry throughout the city. The application process is being administered by OACCE. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online to OACCE by October 12th, 2012.
“It is very exciting to be able to announce this new opportunity for the youth of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City is proud to acknowledge the power and importance of poetry as an art form. Programs such as the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement have shown the impact that poetry can have on the positive development of young people and I am happy that the City is in a position to help encourage its practice.”
The OACCE is relying, in part, on schools and other organizations that interact with students to spread the word regarding the Youth Poet Laureate application process. “We are reaching out and casting a very wide net to reach the greatest number of youth possible and will be sending materials to organizations throughout the city,” stated Gary Steuer, Chair of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and Chief Cultural Officer of the OACCE. Applicants must be nominated by an organization or adult, whose contact information must also be included in the application. Schools and arts and culture organizations are encouraged to nominate roughly one to three individuals, but interested youth are encouraged to find another nominator if they would like to apply.
The Youth Poet Laureate will be given the opportunity to work with the Sonia Sanchez, Philadelphia’s fist Poet Laureate, and will be invited to make a number of appearances with her. Sonia Sanchez was first announced as inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Philadelphia in December, 2012. She is currently serving a two-year term and has been involved in the process of crafting the Youth Poet Laureate position along with the Poet Laureate Governing Committee. The other members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee are Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia; Al Filreis, Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania; Beth Feldman Brandt, poet and Executive Director of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation; and Greg Corbin, Founder and Executive Director, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement.
Copies of the application material and detailed guidelines can be found in branches of the Philadelphia Free Library and at http://creativephl.org/youthpoetlaureate. Applications can be submitted online at the same address.