WORCESTER, Mass. – The City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Division announced Thursday the search for the City’s next Youth Poet Laureate.
This call to literary artists seeks poets ages 13-19 who have a significant connection to the Worcester community to serve a two-year term from January 2024 through December 2025.
“Serving as the Worcester Youth Poet Laureate has been a tremendous honor and I am proud to advocate for youth voices across our city,” said current Worcester Youth Poet Laureate Adael (Ace) Mejia, whose term ends in December. “It has been remarkable to impact people of all ages and engage with other youth through my poetry. Two years ago, I would not have imagined all of the opportunities, engagements, and projects the Worcester Poet Laureate Program would lead to.”
Mejia began his term in January 2022 succeeding Amina Mohammed, who served as the first Youth Poet Laureate for the City of Worcester and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Worcester Youth Poet Laureate will receive an annual honorarium of $500 and a one-time $2,500 scholarship during their two-year term. During this time, the chosen individual will act as an official youth ambassador of Worcester’s literary arts through public appearances, an annual commemorative poem, and a variety of community collaborations.
“It is imperative that we continue to empower our youth creatives by celebrating their talents and passion. Poetry has been a powerful avenue for youth to advocate for systemic change, express unique feelings, and heal wounds,” said Cultural Development Officer Fabian Barracks. “We can’t ignore the significant role our youth play in preserving and transforming our culture through creative innovation.”
Current Worcester Poet Laureate Oliver de la Paz will serve as a mentor, assisting the Youth Poet Laureate through their duties and helping them develop their poetic abilities.
“I look forward to working with the next Youth Poet Laureate as we continue to amplify Worcester’s dynamic voices and stories through the power of poetry and the spoken word,” said de la Paz. “Together, we will not only celebrate poetry, but we will also recognize the unique narratives of our community that unite us all.”
Those interested in applying or nominating a qualified candidate are encouraged to join a virtual Youth Poet Laureate Application Workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m. During this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, learn about the program, and review the application process with Mejia and the Cultural Development staff. Register for this Zoom workshop at https://tinyurl.com/mncw45n9.
The next Youth Poet Laureate’s term will begin Jan. 1, 2024. The deadline to apply or nominate is Nov. 12, 2023. More on the City of Worcester Poets Laureate program, including guidelines and a link to the current application, can be found at WorcesterMA.gov/Cultural-Development/Poet.