The City Of Philadelphia Names New Youth Poet Laureate

Helen Haynes, Chief Cultural Officer of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) and Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, announced Soledad Alfaro-Allah as the City’s second Youth Poet Laureate during a ceremony at City Hall today. Ms. Alfaro-Allah’s term will run through May 2015.

“The City recognizes the impact that poetry can have on the positive development of young people. Poetry can foster a life-long love of reading, make our students better writers and improve their ability to find deeper meaning and think critically,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “It is important that we get our children interested in art and culture at an early age and the youth poet laureate can play an important inspirational role.”

The Youth Poet Laureate position was established in 2013 under the OACCE to complement the City’s Poet Laureate program and to give a young person an opportunity to develop and showcase his or her talents in poetry with the guidance of an experienced poet.

After a nomination process, the Poet Laureate Governing Committee selected three finalists: Soledad Alfaro-Allah (Science Leadership Academy), Matthew Ridley (Northeast High School) and Sabrina Slipchenko (Northeast High School). The members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock selected the winner.

The Youth Poet Laureate will have the opportunity to be mentored by Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock. In her newly appointed position, Ms. Alfaro-Allah will encourage her peers to hone their interest in poetry.

“We were pleased to see the caliber of talent displayed by the applicants for the position and look forward to helping Soledad grow as a poet while inspiring her fellow youth,” stated Helen Haynes. “We hope that Matthew and Sabrina will continue to become part of the City’s efforts to increase the visibility of poetry in the city.”

The members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee are:

·         Beth Feldman Brandt, poet and Executive Director, the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation;

·         Dr. Cathy Cohen, Education Director, ArtWell;

·         Greg Corbin, Founder and Executive Director, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement;

·         Thomas Devaney, poet and Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry, Haverford College;

·         Lillian Dunn, Co-founder and Executive Editor, APIARY Magazine;

·         Al Filreis, Faculty Director, Kelly Writers House, the University of Pennsylvania;

·         Mytili Jagannathan, poet and Principal, Itinerant Ink;

·         Trapeta Mayson, poet; and

·         Autumn McClintock, poet and Assistant Chief of Staff, the Free Library of Philadelphia.


For more information about OACCE visit:

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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