Meet the Ten Amazing Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists!

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities. Each year we accept submissions from talented Oakland writers (ages 13-18) to be considered for the city’s top literary honor. The Laureate earns an educational scholarship and embarks on a year of opportunities as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression.


Our 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate is Samuel Getachew, and our 2019 Oakland Vice Youth Poet Laureate is Eleanor Wikstrom.

***Follow along with their work this year at the bottom of this page.***

Oakland poets between the ages of 13 and 18 can join the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate community by applying with three poems early each calendar year. 

Get to know our 2019 Youth Poet Laureate, Vice Youth Poet Laureate, and all of the Finalists here by checking out their incredible performance videos.  

If you would like to book our current Oakland Youth Poet Laureate or Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists, please do so here:

First up, Hayden Beaulieu, an 18-year-old high school graduate:  

Siara Edmond, 14 years old, goes to Skyline High School:

Darien Em is a 16 year old who goes to Oakland High:

Next, we have Samuel Getachew, who is a 16-year-old at Oakland Technical High School:

Monique Nadine Jonath is a 16-year-old at The College Preparatory School:

Here is Greer Nakadegawa-Lee, a 15-year-old who goes to Oakland Technical High School:

Zouhair Mussa is a 15-year-old who goes to school at Oakland High: 

Here is Jordan Tisnado, a Dewey Academy 17-year old:

Eleanor Wikstrom goes to Skyline High School and is 16 years old:

17-year old Lizette Navarro goes to Oakland School for the Arts:

2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poets' Projects and Words

We Are Still Here, a project by 2019 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Sameul Getachew, is a visual showcase of first-draft poems from writing workshops in Oakland public school classrooms.

Watch Eleanor Wikstrom's powerful performance of her poem Too Good and read about her opportunity to read this poem in front of the woman who inspired it.  You can also find a printable version of the written poem.

Eleanor Wikstrom wrote an original poem for the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which was recorded and featured as part of the official UN commemoration ceremony. See the video here, and watch the full commemoration event here.  


Check out Finalists from other years, and the work they've done, here.