Philadelphia, March 3, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) application period is open for Philadelphia’s next Youth Poet Laureate, a position complementing the city’s Poet Laureate. The Youth Poet Laureate position is open to high school students residing within the City of Philadelphia. The selected Youth Poet Laureate will serve a term from June 2015 through May 2016. All applicants must be students through their term as Youth Poet Laureate, therefore students graduating in June 2015 are not eligible.

The application process is administered by OACCE.  Applications must be postmarked or submitted online to the Arts Office, City Hall Room 116, by April 10th, 2015. Detailed guidelines and the application can be downloaded or completed online at:

“The City values the power that poetry has in helping young people develop their voices and skills in reading comprehension, writing, and creative self-expression,” said Mayor Nutter. “Becoming Youth Poet Laureate is an opportunity for one talented young person to expand their artistic abilities, use their poetry in service to our city, and be an ambassador for the arts among their peers. I believe that by appointing a Youth Poet Laureate for Philadelphia, the City can encourage our children to be interested and engaged in art and culture.”

The Arts Office is relying, in part, on schools and other organizations that interact with students to spread the word regarding the Youth Poet Laureate application process. Applicants must be nominated by an organization or an 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.

“This is a great opportunity for a young poet to hone their skills and be mentored by Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate,” said Helen Haynes, Chief Cultural Officer. “Each year, we are amazed by the applicants and in awe of the young people that are nominated for the position. Philadelphia is fertile ground for bright, talented and creative young minds and we hope that the Youth Poet Laureate helps us highlight some of those outstanding young people.”

The individual chosen for this position will be given the opportunity to develop his or her talents in poetry and will help to promote poetry throughout the city. The Youth Poet Laureate will have the opportunity to work with Philadelphia’s current Poet Laureate, Frank Sherlock, and the incoming Poet Laureate, who will be announced in January 2016, and will be invited to make a number of appearances in an official capacity.

“Being the City’s Youth Poet Laureate has given me many great experiences, which have helped me develop my voice and have strengthened my love for poetry,” said the current Youth Poet Laureate Soledad Alfaro-Allah.  “I am proud to represent the young poets of my city.”

The Youth Poet Laureate position has been crafted by the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and Poet Laureate Emeritus Sonia Sanchez. The Poet Laureate Governing Committee is chaired by Beth Feldman Brandt, poet and Executive Director, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation. The members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee are:

  • 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 at the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Mytili Jagannathan, poet and Principal, Itinerant Ink;
  • Trapeta Mayson, poet and Executive Director of Historic Germantown; and
  • Autumn McClintock, poet and Office of Strategic Initiatives, the Free Library of Philadelphia.

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For more information about OACCE, visit:

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases
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