Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate

Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate

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

Will it Be You?

Applications Open April 1, 2024

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.

Congratulations to the 2023 Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate and Vice-Laureate!

SPECIAL THANKS to our 2023 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, 2024.

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 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.
  • The current Laureate and any former Laureates between the ages of 13-19 can submit poetry for the Regional Youth Poet Laureate competition and the statewide California Youth Poet Laureate competition. There are four Regional Youth Poet Laureates, and one 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.

Poetry to Inspire

Meet the 2023 Judges

Camryn Crump

Camryn Crump is the Founder and Executive Director of Unconventional Faith Community, Operator at Glide Memorial Church, and Program Manager with Alameda County Public Health Department. He has been working in Public Health for the last 15 years in Alameda County addressing Gender, Sexuality, Racial Equity and Inclusion. He recently embarked on a new journey to create a healthy innovative and inclusive space for individuals to explore Faith in ways that boost the mind, body, and soul, in a non-traditional way. 

des jackson

des is a senior at UC Berkeley graduating with honors in Comparative Literature. they are also a longtime poet currently based in Oakland, with works published in {m}aganda magazine, Mujeristas Collective Virtual Exhibition, GIAMAG @ UC Berkeley, and a self-published zine titled "Some Body Song." des looks forward to reading this year's entries from amazing youth poets across Alameda County!

Janice Lobo Sapigao

Janice Lobo Sapigao (she/her) is a Filipina American poet from San José, CA. She is the author of two books of poetry, microchips for millions (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2016) and like a solid to a shadow (Nightboat Books, 2022). She was the 2020-2021 Santa Clara County Poet Laureate.

Vamsey Palagummi

Vamsey Palagummi is the managing director for CURYJ (Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice). He is also chair of the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission. Vamsey has a deep commitment to advocating for the rights of underserved youth, which comes from his own experience as a youth, spending time in juvenile hall and being placed on probation. Vamsey holds a B.A. in Political Science from Notre Dame de Namur University, and a JD from Santa Clara University, and was named to the 2020 40 Under 40 list by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Zoe Dorado

Zoe Dorado is a poet, journalist, musician, & community organizer who is interested in the ways storytelling integrates itself into different art forms. She is a 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts candidate, a 2023 National YoungArts Finalist in Spoken Word, & a 2023 American Voices Award Nominee. In 2021, she served as the Inaugural Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate. Within the Bay, she holds workshops for Fil-Am youth through Filipino Advocates for Justice & Sama Sama, curates poetry programs as a Youth Speaks SPOKES member, & has performed in places ranging from San Francisco City Hall to her Lola’s kitchen. You can find more of her work at zoedorado.com.

Our Sponsor

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

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