Oakland, CA – The 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate will be announced in front of a live audience on Friday, June 7 at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) at 7 p.m.
Ten talented young poets have made it through a competitive process to represent their city and are competing for a $5,000 college scholarship awarded by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.
Launched in 2011, the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program celebrates the authentic voice of young people (ages 13-18) living in Oakland to showcase their talent and leadership skills.
Leila Mottley, who took home the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate award said, “I feel incredibly honored to represent my city and make connections with people around Oakland through poetry and a love of our home.” As last year’s Laureate, Mottley has toured Oakland and performed her poetry in front of community groups, schools, and even City Council. She will attend Smith College in the fall.
Leading up to the final event on June 7, each finalist’s poems will be featured at oaklandlibrary.org/oyplfinalists.
The 2019 finalists are:
- Eleanor Wikstrom, student at Skyline High School, age 16
- Jordan Tisnado, student at Dewey Academy, age 17
- Zouhair Mussa, student at Oakland High School, age 15
- Lizette Navarro, student at Oakland School of the Arts, age 17
- Greer Nakadegawa-Lee, student at Oakland Technical High School age 15
- Monique Nadine Jonath, student at The College Preparatory School, age 16
- Samuel Getachew, student at Oakland Technical High School, age 16, 2018 Vice Youth Poet Laureate
- Darien Em, student at Oakland High School, age 16
- Siara Edmond, student at Skyline High School, age 14
- Hayden Beaulieu, (high school graduate), age 18
This year’s program will be judged by a curated panel that includes: 2017 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Lucy Flattery-Vickness; writer, painter and educator Charles Curtis Blackwell; writer MK Chavez; Executive Director of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center Gloria Fangon-Hitz; and writer and journalist Pendarvis Harshaw.
The Youth Poet Laureate program is coordinated by the Oakland Public Library and supported by a broad coalition of partner agencies across the Bay Area: Chapter 510, Write-to-Read and the Alameda County Library. The Friends of the Oakland Public Library finances the Laureate’s scholarship which is then administered through ScholarMatch.
The Oakland Public Library is a part of the City of Oakland in California and has been in existence since 1878. Locations include 16 neighborhood branches, a Main Library, a Second Start Adult Literacy Program, the Oakland Tool Lending Library, and the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO). On April 1, 2019, OPL expanded its hours for the first time since 2004 thanks to the passage of Measure D. The Oakland Public Library empowers all people to explore, connect, and grow.