Worcester Public Library and City of Worcester to Host Poet Laureate Inauguration of Oliver de la Paz


WORCESTER, Mass. – The City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Division and Worcester Public Library will host an inauguration ceremony for new Worcester Poet Laureate Oliver de la Paz. The ceremony will take place from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 on the first floor of the Worcester Public Library at 3 Salem St.

“Worcester’s Poet Laureate programs are a key part of our Creative City foundation. I am excited that the public will have this opportunity to recognize and witness Oliver’s gift of giving the community a voice through his words, and to celebrate our Poets Laureate and unique cultural scene more broadly,” said City Manager Eric D. Batista.

During the inaugural event, Mayor Joseph M. Petty will award de la Paz with a ceremonial medal crafted by local metalsmith Pam Farren, commemorating the start of the new Poet Laureate’s three-year term. The public is welcome to meet Worcester’s Poets Laureate, and the ceremony will include readings by de la Paz, former Worcester Poet Laureate Juan Matos (2020-2022), former Youth Poet Laureate Amina Mohammed (2020-2021), and current Youth Poet Laureate Adael Mejia (2022-2023).

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to honor the incredible literary history of this city,” de la Paz said. “I look forward to sharing my passion for poetry with the community.”

“While I am sad to see Juan’s tenure end, I am excited to begin a new partnership with Oliver. I’m excited to be able to learn from and collaborate with such a big name in the poetry community,” said Mejia.

The ceremony will also include remarks by Jason Homer, Executive Director of Worcester Public Library. The Worcester Public Library will further celebrate the occasion with a specially curated poetry display.

“Worcester is a city with a storied history of literary talent. We are thrilled for the opportunity to host such exceptionally talented poets, and de la Paz is a fantastic contribution to that tradition,” Homer said.

Before his appointment as Poet Laureate, de la Paz authored several collections, including Names Above Houses (2001), Requiem for the Orchard (2010), and The Boy in the Labyrinth (2019). In addition to his published work, de la Paz has dedicated his career to promoting literary excellence, community engagement, and education.

Among his many experiences, de la Paz co-chairs Kundiman, a nonprofit organization that uplifts Asian-American voices in poetry, and he is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the College of the Holy Cross.

“We cannot wait to see to see what Oliver has in store,” said Yaffa Fain of the City’s Cultural Development Division. “It is deeply exciting to recognize such a talented and dedicated poet in our city, and we are eager to begin working with him.”

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share the beauty and power of self-expression with the community through poetry, especially during such unusual times,” said Matos. “Oliver is an extraordinarily talented poet and educator, and I know he will do a fantastic job as Poet Laureate.”

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