Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate

Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate

2020 YPL Alameda County YLP LOGO

We're looking for Alameda County's next YOUTH POET LAUREATE!

Will it Be You?

Applications Open April 1, 2023

Are you a teen who wants to speak your truth, make friends, and have fun? We’re looking for poets and spoken word artists from all over the county to SHOW UP and AMPLIFY YOUTH VOICES.

Youth-Poet-Laureate-Winner-2022-Bibliocard

Congratulations to the 2022 Alameda County Youth Poet Laureates and Co Vice-Laureates!

A GIGANTIC THANK YOU to our 2022 Judges for their support of young Alameda County poets and for their commitment to lifting up youth voices.

Who is the Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate?

This August, Alameda County will select its 2023 Youth Poet Laureate. The Youth Poet Laureate will serve as an ambassador to inspire civic engagement, social justice, cultural awareness, and literary excellence in our communities.

Applications for the Youth Poet Laureate program will be accepted from April 1 through April 30, 2023. All applications are due on April 30, 2023.

To be eligible for the competition you must: 

  • Be an Alameda County resident;
  • Be between the ages of 13-18 as of May 1, 2023.
  • Be available to serve as Laureate for the program year, August 4, 2023 to August 2, 2024.
  • If you are selected as Laureate or Vice-Laureate, you must live locally during the laureate year August 4, 2023 to August 2, 2023.

Poems will be judged on content, craft, and voice.

Those who advance to the interview round are also judged on performance and leadership potential.

Finalists will be announced at the end of July. An awards ceremony will be held in early August.

Thanks to the Alameda County Library Foundation for sponsoring the Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate program.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications accepted and due?

  • Applications for the Youth Poet Laureate program will be accepted from April 1 through April 30, 2023.
  • All applications are due on April 30, 2023.

What does the Youth Poet Laureate do?

  • The Laureate and the finalists will be invited to perform at public events throughout the year, and beyond.
  • The Laureate and Vice-Laureate will serve for one year (August 2023 to August 2024). They must live locally during this period.
  • The Laureate and finalists will be asked to share their experiences, writing process, and values on online platforms.
  • The Laureate and finalists will have the ability to develop a community wide project to bring poetry to everyone.
  • The Laureate will submit one poem that will be featured on the library website. The Laureate will also need to submit three poems for the national anthology by Urban Word, which will feature the work of all the 2023 Youth Poet Laureates across the country.

What does the Laureate title earn?

  • A MacBook and computer accessories.
  • The Laureate’s poetry will be included in a national anthology that also features the work of Laureates nationwide.
  • The Alameda County Library will support the Laureate and will field event requests.
  • Any former Laureate between the ages of 13-19 can submit poetry for the Regional Youth Poet Laureate competition. One of the four Regional Youth Poet Laureates will be selected as the National Youth Poet Laureate.

What should be included in your application?

  • Three original poems that showcase your content, craft, and voice. Submissions should be no more than 10 pages. Do not include your name in the document as the first round is anonymous.
  • Name and contact information of an adult sponsor who is familiar with your writing, academic achievements, and community involvement. If you advance to the next round, your sponsor will be asked to write a letter of recommendation. Ask for this letter in advance so the letter will be submitted by May 31!
  • Artist statement: Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what poetry means to you. Your statement should be 250 words maximum.
  • Your biography: This should include any awards, community service, work experience, or activism.
  • Name and contact info of your legal guardian unless you are 18 by May 1, 2023.

How does this work? 

The first round of judging will be anonymous, based solely on the content, craft, and voice of your written poems. Learn more about the judging processFor questions about the Youth Poet Laureate program, please email: ypl@aclibrary.org.

Submit Your Application

Submissions are closed, see you in 2023!

Poetry to Inspire

Meet the 2022 Judges

YPLJ20221

Anissa Basoco-Villarreal

Anissa Basoco-Villarreal was raised in El Paso, Texas and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She currently serves as the Alameda County Social Services Agency Assistant Agency Director for the Department of Government and Community Relations. She is a steadfast advocate of immigrant rights.

YPLJ20223

Deb Sica

Deb Sica, MFA, MLIS, Deputy County Librarian, attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. She spent the two life changing years with assorted Beat poets and Buddhist visionaries finding ways to challenge institutional poetics.

YPLJ20224

Sean San José

Sean San José is a Bay Area theatre maker, performer, director and producer who works in new performances with Campo Santo - a new performance group by and for People of Color since 1996 - and now at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco (MagicTheatre.org).

YPLJ20222

Ayodele Nzinga

Ayodele Nzinga is a Bay Area educator, the current Poet Laureate for the City of Oakland, and founding producing director of the Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc.

Our Sponsor

Thank you to the Alameda County Library Foundation for making this program possible.

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