Meet the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poets

Each year we have not only an Oakland Youth Poet Laureate and Vice Laureate, but we also welcome all of our Finalists into this amazing community of young poets.

2019 Finalists OYPL
Oakland Youth Poet Laureate 2022 Finalists and Judges
OYPL 2017 Finalists - Group 7

Meet the 2022 OYPL Poets

Bios are current as of May, 2022.

Kaylan Black

Kaylan Black, 2022 Vice Oakland Youth Poet Laureate

Kaylan is a junior at Envision Academy of Arts and Technology.  She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and is on the African American Honor Roll.   

Poetry is unique to her because it allows her to freely express herself and it shows how different we are. It is a way to build bonds with others and is a place where she can release her feelings with no qualms about how it may be perceived. 

Kaylan Black, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Kaylan Black.

Kaylan Black in conversation with Lucy Flattery-Vickness

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Kaylan Black who is in conversation with Lucy Flattery-Vickness, 2017 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate.

Nadia Elbgal

Nadia Elbgal, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate

Nadia will be graduating in June from Berkeley High School. She is an active member in her community where she has mentored Yemeni students in OUSD elementary schools and is an activist for the Middle Eastern and Muslim communities.

Nadia is a songwriter who uses poetry daily and feels it is essential to writing her music. Poetry has always made her feel empowered and hopeful. It is a place where she can get her emotions out and is a form of therapy for her.

Nadia Elbgal, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Nadia Elbgal.

Nadia Elbgal in conversation with Greer Nakadegawa-Lee

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Nadia Elbgal who is in conversation with 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Greer Nakadegawa-Lee.

Rina Huang

Rina Huang, 2022 Finalist

Rina is a junior at The College Preparatory School. She is currently the co-editor of The Steele, her high school's literary journal, in which she publishes often. Rina began writing poetry as a child and as the years passed, her poetry became a way to mark her milestones. Her poems represent the memoirs of herself through the intersections of her identities on being Chinese and American. 

Rina Huang, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Rina Huang.

Rina Huang in conversation with Eleanor Wikstrom

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Rina Huang who is in conversation with 2020 Vice Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Eleanor Wikstrom.

Dara Kashayar

Dara Kashayar, 2022 Finalist

Dara is a junior at Campolindo High School.  His family and Persian culture are very important to him. He is a part of the World Affairs Council in the student Ambassador Program and also volunteers with the mayor’s office.  He is a writer for his school paper and hopes to leave a positive impact.

He is passionate about using his voice to make a change in Oakland, with a focus on equity. 

Dara Kashayar, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Dara Kashayar.

Dara Kashayar in conversation with monique jonath

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Dara Kashayar who is in conversation with 2018 and 2019 OYPL Finalist monique jonath.

Vincent Ng

Vincent Ng, 2022 Finalist

Vincent is a junior at Oakland High School. In the summer of 2021, Vincent won the #STOPAAPI hate essay contest where his essay was recognized and published on an OUSD zine. Poetry allows him to realize how powerful and individualized his own voice is as an immigrant who is still navigating it all as a teenager. Writing is a place where he can unleash all his emotions and feel that no one can criticize him.   

Vincent Ng, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Vincent Ng.

Vincent Ng in conversation with Chiana Griswa

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Vincent Ng who is in conversation with 2020 OYPL Finalist Chiana Griswa.

Xander Timmons

Xander Timmons, 2022 Finalist

Xander is an eighth grader at Seven Hills School. 

He is a passionate artist that is bounded by the unity of movement, words, notes, strings, keys, and colors. He believes the mind is where true humanity stems from and that the body is nothing more than flesh and blood. Xander takes pride in his work and treasures any dose of weird, because what is even the point of being normal, if being normal doesn’t allow him to achieve his goals?

Xander Timmons, 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Xander Timmons.

Xander Timmons in conversation with Siara Edmond

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Xander Timmons who is in conversation with 2019, 2020, and 2021 OYPL Finalist, Siara Edmond.

Geronimo Valenzuela

Geronimo Valenzuela, 2022 Finalist

Geronimo is a junior at Oakland Technical High School.  

He is an amateur inventor, appreciated fool, and an overall fan of coffee. He is currently writing for his school newspaper and is the prop master for Oakland Tech’s theatre department.   

To Geronimo, poetry is a way to chase a more comprehensive truth. Words can have several meanings and references that better express the writer and their message.. Poetry is a social art.  

Geronimo Valenzuela 2022 OYPL Finalist

Performance by 2022 OYPL Finalist, Geronimo Valenzuela

Geronimo Valenzuela in conversation with Steph Yun

Meet 2022 OYPL Finalist Geronimo Valenzuela who is in conversation with 2012 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Steph Yun.

See More from these Poets

OYPL Performances

Watch performances by Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poets.

Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poet Accomplishments

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