Oakland Public Library Announces Finalists for the 11th Annual Youth Poet Laureate

2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate to be Announced at Live Performance Event on May 21

The Oakland Public Library is proud to announce that seven talented young poets in Oakland have made it through a competitive process to represent their town.  Each of the Finalists will perform at an outdoor live event at 4pm on May 21 at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater and one of them will be named the 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate.

The Laureate will receive a $5,000 college scholarship awarded by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.

Launched in 2011, the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate (OYPL) program celebrates the authentic voice of young people (ages 13-18) living in Oakland to showcase their talent and leadership skills and invites young poets to be part of a community.

Kaylan Black, 2021 Vice Oakland Youth Poet Laureate and 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist says about OYPL:

All in the all the program has been really useful in learning how to fully express myself. I'm able to be in a space where I am able to just be me.

The 2022 Finalists are:

  • Kaylan Black, 16, Envision Academy of Arts and Technology
  • Nadia Elbgal, 18, Berkeley High School
  • Rina Huang, 17, The College Preparatory School
  • Dara Ksahayar, 16, Campolindo High School
  • Vincent Ng, 17, Oakland High School
  • Xander Timmons, 13, Seven Hills School
  • Geronimo Valenzuela, 17, Oakland Technical High School

You can get a sneak peek of their work, and learn more about them here.

This year’s program was judged by a curated panel that includes:

  • writer and teacher Cyrus Armajani
  • 2021 Alameda County Youth Poet Laureate Zoe Dorado
  • poet and rapper Shanga Goman
  • librarian, activist, author, and OYPL founder Amy Sonnie
  • librarian and artist Pete Villaseñor

Learn more about our amazing 2022 judges.

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