Worcester Poet Laureate & Youth Poet Laureate Programs

The City Manager, Mayor, the Worcester City Council and the Office of Cultural Development have announced the appointments of the City of Worcester Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate.

The City of Worcester Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate will serve as official ambassadors of our historic, vibrant poetic and literary culture, using their positions to promote our great writers and the transformative qualities of poetry and the written word throughout the community.

The objectives of the City of Worcester's 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 artists.
  • 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.

A four person committee was formed to review dozens of applications to the Poet Laureate programs. Distinguished poet, acclaimed author and long-time educator Oliver de la Paz has been selected as Worcester's next Poet Laureate, to serve from January 2023 until December 2025. Serenity Jackson, a student at Worcester Technical High School, became the third Youth Poet Laureate in Worcester, preceded by Adael Mejia. Jackson will serve from January 2024 through December 2025.

Poet Laureate

Oliver de la Paz

Poet Laureate Oliver de la PazOliver de la Paz earned degrees in Biology and English Literature from Loyola Marymount University and received his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Arizona State University, where he was a University Graduate Scholar Fellowship Awardee. De la Paz has since taught at several universities and is currently an Associate Professor at the College of the Holy Cross.

As Poet Laureate, de la Paz looks forward to using his experiences as a poet, as an educator and in the wider literary community to expand access to the arts in Worcester. He was a founding member of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to uplifting Asian-American writing. He served two terms on the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Board of Trustees. Other recognitions de la Paz has been awarded include grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, an Artist Trust GAP Grant and a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.

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Youth Poet Laureate

Serenity Jackson

Youth Poet Laureate Serentiy Jackson HeadshotSerenity Jackson is a 14-year-old freshman at Worcester Technical High School. She is a rapper and performer with the stage name "Lil Rennie." Serenity has been performing since the age of 9 with many performances under her belt, ranging from a variety of music festivals, public events and a feature showcase at New York's Apollo Theatre. She was recently one of the winners at Polar Park's National Baseball Poetry Festival in April 2023.

Serenity will serve as the third youth poet laureate and ambassador for the City of Worcester. Serenity's creativity stands as a testament to the boundless potential of Worcester's next generation. Get ready to be inspired as Serenity takes the mic embodying the rhythm and rhyme of our vibrant city!

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Poets Laureate Requests and Appearance Scheduling

To request the scheduling of either or both Poets Laureate for an appearance, please complete the Worcester Poet Laureate Appearance Requests Form. Click on the form below.

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Poets Laureate Works

Below you will find an archive of poems and works by the Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate for the City of Worcester. Click on an option below to expand and view the poems offered:

Contact Information

Cultural Development
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455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

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