Youth Poet Laureate Program

Do you have something to say? Do you want to write a better world into existence?

                  Watercolor illustration of a young poet

                    Apply to become the 2017 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate! Apply here by February 5, 2017.     

Who can enter?
• Only residents of Oakland, CA may apply
• Applicants must be 13-18 years old
• Poems will be judged based on ContentCraft, and Voice. If you are advanced to the Final round, applications will be additionally judged on Leadership and Performance

What do you need to apply?
• An artist statement (Maximum: 250 words)
• Three poems (Maximum: 10 pages total)
• An adult sponsor to provide a recommendation (only if you advance to the Final round)
• Optional: You may also submit a list of any awards and/or volunteer service activities

For more information about this year’s program or to access our Judging Criteria, please visit


About the Youth Poet Laureate Program

Presented by Oakland Public Library and Youth Speaks, the Youth Poet Laureate program is supported by an alliance of community partners representing Oakland’s leading arts, education and community organizations. Scholarship funding is provided by Youth Speaks Youth Poet Laureate Fund and the Friends of the Oakland Public Library. Scholarship administration and academic support is provided by ScholarMatch.

Community Partners: Write-to-Read and Alameda County Library, Chapter 510, and Oakland Book Festival.

To book the 2016 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Azariah Cole-Shephard, for a performance or workshop please fill out the BOOKING REQUEST FORM.

For press inquiries, contact or (510)761-POEM (7636).