Meet the Six Amazing 2020 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.


It's been a strange year. In the midst of so much uncertainty and so much change, we are glad to be able to bring you, as we do each year, these amazing young poets. Art, poetry, and the voices of our young people matter, and Oakland is so lucky to have such incredible wealth of talent.

This year we have six wonderful Finalists. Live on Facebook, on Friday, June 5th, 2020, we shared performances from each of them and announced our new 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate.  If you missed it live, you can still watch it on YouTube or on Facebook.

Congratulations to 2020's Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Greer Nakadegawa-Lee and 2020's Vice Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Michelle Arango!


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


If you would like to book Greer or any of the other 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists, please do so here:

Oakland poets between the ages of 13 and 18 can join the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate community by applying with three poems in early 2021.

Get to know our new 2020 Youth Poet Laureate, Vice Youth Poet Laureate, and all of the Finalists here by checking out their insightful and thoughtful interviews and watching their incredible performance videos.  

First up, 14-year-old Hunter Jackson:

Hunter Jackson in conversation with Eleanor Wikstrom.

Hunter Jackson's performance video.

Meet 15-year-old Siara Edmond:

Siara Edmond in conversation with Lucy Flattery-Vickness.

Siara Edmond's performance video.

15-year old Greer Nakadegawa-Lee is next:

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee in conversation with Samuel Getachew.

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee's performance video.

Chiana Griswa is 16 years old and our next Finalist:

Chiana Griswa, in conversation with Shanga Labossiere.

Chiana Griswa's performance video.

Meet 17-year-old Michelle Arango:

Michelle Arango in conversation with Tova Ricardo.

Michelle Arango's performance video.

And, finally, here is Jordan Tisnado, who is 18 years old:

Jordan Tisnado in conversation with Steph Yun.

Jordan Tisnado's performance video.

2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poets' Projects and Words

Listen to Greer Nakadegawa-Lee perform her poem, "2020", and find a printable version of her inspiring words.

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee performed a poem at the Oakland Symphony's Inaugural Gala for Kamala Harris.  See the performance and find a printable version of the poem.


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