Boston: MAYOR JANEY ANNOUNCES SEARCH FOR BOSTON’S NEXT YOUTH POET LAUREATE

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Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Public Library, today announced applications are open for Boston's next Youth Poet Laureate. Interested youth ages 13-18 can apply here until November 14, 2021 at 5 p.m.

"This program fosters joy, resilience and uplifts youth voices throughout the City," said Mayor Janey. "Thank you to Alondra for your inspiring work during a challenging two years. I look forward to showcasing the talents of the next Youth Poet Laureate."

The Boston Youth Poet Laureate program (BYPL) was created in cooperation with the national youth literary organization, Urban Word, local youth literary leaders, the Boston Public Library, MassLEAP, and 826 Boston to promote appreciation for poetry. Similar to the Poet Laureate's civic challenge, the Youth Poet Laureate is tasked with inspiring deeper engagement in the written and spoken word.

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"It is imperative that we invest and encourage young folks in our city to express themselves via the arts," said Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola. "The goal of Boston's Youth Poet Laureate program is not to inspire one young writer, but to uplift many with the craft of poetry. As a writer who began writing poems as a young person, I know how imperative it is to invest in a community of writers who will grow to shape and lead this city."

Like the City's Poet Laureate, the Youth Poet Laureate will act as an advocate for poetry, language and the arts, and create a unique artistic legacy through public readings and civic events. They will also attend a variety of civic functions, participate in poetry events, and oversee special civic projects.

The City announced Alondra Bobadilla of Hyde Park as Boston's inaugural Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020, and since then she has participated in numerous readings and events throughout the City. She recently published her first collection of poetry, With Clipped Wings, and she is attending UMass Boston this fall.

"In the past two years, I have had the humbling opportunity and the honor to begin a legacy," said Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla. "I hope the next Youth Poet Laureate does not simply build upon the connections that were formed with various branches of the community through my time in the role, but that they propel forward their own contributions to the greater vision behind the program; advocating for poetry and the literary arts, advocating for the community through these mediums, and expanding the accessibility of this art form to all in the City of Boston."

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The mission for the youth laureateship is to raise the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Bostonians. The Youth Poet Laureate is a ceremonial and not a political appointment, and is intended to be a significant fixture in Boston's cultural and artistic arena.

Applicants must be 13-18 years old, and must have lived in the City of Boston for at least one year prior to their nomination. The City is seeking someone who has a strong commitment to their community, and is enthusiastic about presenting their work to the public.

The Youth Poet Laureate will serve a minimum term of two years, with the potential to serve up to four years. They will receive a $2,000 honorarium each year, as well as mentorship from Boston's Poet Laureate. They will also publish their own collection of poetry.

"We're excited to continue working with a Youth Poet Laureate to raise awareness of the power of the arts, and to increase youth participation in the arts throughout each neighborhood of the city," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture.

A selection panel will review applications and identify final candidates for interviews. The Youth Poet Laureate will be announced at a finalist showcase on January 15, 2022 at the Central Branch of the Boston Public Library.

More information about the Youth Poet Laureate program can be found here, and interested youth poets can apply here.

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