Youth Poet Laureate Program

2015 Youth Poet Laureate Header

The 2015 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate application is now closed. Finalists will be announced in May and the winner named in July!

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities. Do you have what it takes to be the next Laureate ? We think so! The Youth Poet Laureate program welcomes all poets, from the page to the stage, to represent the City of Oakland. All applicants should:

  • Be between the ages of 13-18

  • Live or attend school in Oakland

  • Submit 3-5 original poems showing excellence, originality, creative risk-taking, and authenticity. Poems may be submitted in written or audio formats

  • Be prepared to tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and why is poetry important to you?

Finalists in the program will be announced in May and will be required to submit a letter of support from an adult sponsor.

Have more questions? Check out our Poet Laureate FAQs



  • Sophie Elkin, 18 Oakland School for the Arts - 2014 Poet Laureate
  • Obasi Davis, 17, Berkeley High School – 2013 Poet Laureate

  • Stephanie Yun, 18, Skyline High School – 2012 Poet Laureate

About the Youth Poet Laureate Program

Presented by Oakland Public Library, Youth Speaks and Pro Arts, the Youth Poet Laureate program is supported by more than dozen community partners representing Oakland’s leading arts, education and community organizations. Scholarship funding is provided by the John diTargiani Fund at Youth Speaks and the Friends of the Oakland Public Library. Scholarship administration and academic support is provided byScholarMatch.

Community Partners: Oakland School for the Arts, Mills College, Generations Literary Journal, Youth Radio, Oakland Unified School District, Write-to-Read and Alameda County Library, California Poets in the Schools, Chapter 510 (a made-in-Oakland literacy and writing project), and BeastCrawl.