Important Notice: Worcester City Manager Eric Batista, in collaboration with the Worcester City Council and Cultural Development Division, is pleased to announce the nomination process for the City's next Youth Poet Laureate. The Youth Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term, from January 2024 through December 2025. Applications due by 5 p.m. on November 12, 2023.
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:
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. Adael Mejia, a graduate of Burncoat High School, became the second Youth Poet Laureate in Worcester, preceded by Amina Mohammad. Meijia will serve from January 2022 through December 2023.
Oliver 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.
Adael Mejia's father was a teacher in Ecuador and would bring young Adael to school, instructing him to practice his ABCs and write stories. As he grew older, Adael also discovered a love of theatre, dance, music, art and performing. Following his graduation from Burncoat High, Adael joined the City's first Create 508 program, where he found a passion for developing youth artists and growing the community. Adael looks forward to working with young people, including those in mental health and rehabilitation programs, in his two-year term as Youth Poet Laureate.
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.
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: