Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Program

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate (OYPL) program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities.

Each year we accept applications from talented Oakland writers (ages 13-18) to join a community of young poets.

Read more about the application, opens a new window and judging process.

Book a Poet

Interested in booking a poet for an event or performance? Fill out the Booking Request form:

Note: Booking is handled by OPL's Teen Services Department and dependent on availability.
Please allow up to five business days for a response. Requests that are made at least three weeks in advance are more likely to be filled.

Ella Gordon Announced as 13th Oakland Youth Poet Laureate

Jun 07, 2024
Ella Gordon, 17 years old, has been named the 2024 Laureate, winning a $5,000 scholarship.

Contact Us:

(510) 761-7636

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  • The Laureate represents Oakland and its youth at public and private events and is a model for other youth. They also share their experiences with the press and through blogs, videos, and social media.  

    The Laureate will have the opportunity to develop their own poet-leader project.

    Everyone who applies will be invited to enter into a community of young poets and youth advocates.

  • You are eligible to apply if:

    • you live in Oakland
    • are between the ages of 13 and 18 on the day the application is due
    • be available to serve as Laureate for the program year, which means that you will live locally the whole year and won't be enrolled in college full-time during the whole  year (June - June)        
  • Once the application is live and we are accepting submissions, you'll find it linked on all the OYPL pages on the website. 

    You can download the paper application as a PDF here now.

  • Applications for the 2024 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate will be open from January 5 to February 5, 2024.

What have the OYPL poets been up to?

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate poets have accomplished so much! OYPL members have shared their talents with Oaklanders of all ages, and with people from far beyond Oakland.

Please celebrate their words, their truths, their stories, and all that they've accomplished.

OYPL Performances and More

OYPL poets are able to perform, speak, host workshops, plan projects, & share their truths in many ways. See what they've accomplished!

OYPL Event

Learning to love poetry

These resource have inspired Oakland Youth Poet Laureates to start writing—and keep writing. We hope they’ll inspire you.

Meet This Year's OYPL Poets

Each year we have not only an Oakland Youth Poet Laureate and Vice Laureate. There are also Finalists who join our community of young poets.

Meet This Year's OYPL Judges

Meet the incredible members of our community who judged this year's Oakland Youth Poet Laureate entries.

(Make sure to select Oakland Youth Poet Laureate in the Programs section.)

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program is supported by an alliance of community partners representing Oakland’s leading arts, education and community organizations. Scholarship and prize funding is provided by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library. Scholarship administration and financial, cultural, and social support is provided by Scholarship America.

Community Partners: Write-to-Read and Alameda County LibraryChapter 510, and Youth Speaks, opens a new window with support from Urban Word.

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