The 3rd annual Oakland Youth Poet Laureate competition kicks off this week with an open call for applications from teens (age 13-18). Applications from teens residing in or attending school in Oakland will be accepted from February 1 until the deadline on Monday, April 7, 2014.
Hosted by the Oakland Public Library, in partnership with Youth Speaks Inc., Pro Arts Gallery and more than a dozen community partners, the Youth Poet Laureate program represents an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and center youth voices in Oakland’s thriving arts scene. Once named, the contest winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship, see their work published, and serve as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression at local and statewide events.
Leading up to the deadline, youth are invited to participate in free monthly writing workshops with acclaimed local authors and past laureates. Topics include publishing, breaking patterns, editing, and making your writing come to life.
Finalists will be announced in May, and the winner will be announced in August at a public ceremony. An anthology featuring poetry from all past finalists will also be released this year.
The competition is supported by a broad coalition of partner agencies across the Bay Area: Oakland Public Library, Youth Speaks, Pro Arts, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland School of the Arts, California Poets in the Schools, Youth Radio, Chapter 510, Write-to-Read and Alameda County Library, Mills College Community Teaching Project, Generations Literary Journal, and Beast Crawl. Funding is provided by private donations from The Friends of Oakland Public Library and the Youth Speaks John DiTargiani Fund.
Last year’s winner Obasi Davis has made more than two dozen public appearances, including performances for the African American Male Achievement Project, KQED, and the nationally broadcast Voices for Internet Freedom town hall.