The Cities of Oakland and San Francisco are each about to gain new, young, and articulate representatives. For the first time ever, the Oakland Public Library and San Francisco Public Library, in partnership with Youth Speaks (the country's leading nonprofit presenter of spoken word performance, education, and youth development programs), are staging competitions that will result in two Youth Poet Laureates, one from each city. The winners will each be honored with $5,000 in scholarships and the opportunity to officially represent their communities through poetry, media, and public appearances.The search for talented young writers (ages 13-18) begins Sunday, April 1 - just in time for National Poetry Month - when judges will begin accepting submissions. The deadline for all submissions is May 15. Finalist will be announced in early July, and the winners will be announced in September. (See below for submissions guidelines.)
Through a competitive process judged by local leaders and celebrity authors (including renowned artists Arisa White and Marc Barmuthi Joseph), the Youth Poet Laureate initiative will celebrate exceptional teen poets who represent the best of the Bay Area. The winning poet in each city will receive a $5,000 educational scholarship and will serve as an ambassador for arts, education, and youth expression during a year of public service and academic enrichment, including publication of their work in an anthology.