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Deadline Extended for Applications to Worcester’s Youth Poet Laureate Program

For Immediate Release: 11/16/2021 1:40 pm

The City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Division, in collaboration with City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr., is pleased to announce the search for the City’s next Youth Poet Laureate.

The deadline for applications has been extended to Wednesday, Dec. 1.

This call to literary artists seeks poets ages 13-19 who have a significant connection to the Worcester community. The Youth Poet Laureate will receive an annual honorarium of $500 and a one-time $2,500 scholarship during their two-year term, from January 2022 through December 2023. During this time, the chosen individual will act as a youth ambassador of Worcester’s literary arts through public appearances, an annual commemorative poem, and much more. Current Worcester Poet Laureate Juan Matos will serve as a mentor, assisting the Youth Poet Laureate through their duties and helping them develop their poetic abilities.

The objectives of the City of Worcester’s Youth Poet Laureate Programs are to:

  • Enhance the presence and appreciation of poetry and literary arts in Greater Worcester
  • Celebrate the spirit of the people and special qualities of Worcester, the City of Innovation
  • Raise awareness of the power of literature, poetry, and the spoken word
  • Provide a forum for collaborative art forms
  • Engage and support an emerging generation of poets and spoken word artist
  • Provide access to poetry and literary arts to all sectors of the community
  • Encourage the reading and writing of both poetry and the written word

Applications are available at www.worcesterma.gov/cultural-development/poet, and must be submitted or postmarked by Wednesday, Dec. 1. Those interested may be nominated by an outside source or choose to self-nominate.

Applications can be submitted online, emailed to Culture@WorcesterMA.gov, or mailed to: Cultural Development Office, Attn: City of Worcester Poet Laureate Program, 455 Main St., Room 409, Worcester, MA 01608.

Prospective applicants are invited to attend a virtual Youth Poets Laureate Application Workshop at 4:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 26. Through this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the program and application process. The guest speaker, current Youth Poet Laureate Amina Mohammed, will be available to answer questions and share more about her experiences in the program. Click here to register for this virtual workshop.

Mohammed became the first Youth Poet Laureate for the City of Worcester and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in January 2020. Since then, she has provided Worcester with poetry that celebrates her experiences growing up in the city, as well as reflections on her family, her identity, and her outlook on the world. In a recent interview, Mohammed noted that writing has impacted her beyond simply creating new works and gaining confidence with public speaking.

“These past few years have been like a healing process, and it can be for a lot of other kids … I didn’t really see it as a job but as an opportunity to grow,” Mohammed said. “An opportunity to, not put my past behind me, but take from the mistakes that I have done and move forward. Everything was a learning process for me.”

The full interview, “Writing, Expressing, and Healing: An Interview with Amina Mohammed, Worcester Youth Poet Laureate,” provides a deeper look into the experiences and responsibilities of a Worcester Youth Poet Laureate.

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