Introducing the 2023–24 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate

By Kris L. RSS Mon, September 18, 2023

The Free Library of Philadelphia is pleased to announce the 2023–24 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate: Oyewumi Oyeniyi, a senior at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School! She was selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and will succeed Telicia Darius, who served as the 2022–23 Youth Poet Laureate.

"I plan to use my position as Youth Poet Laureate to spread poetry towards a larger audience and also broaden common perceptions of poetry," Oyewumi said.

Oyeniyi was a winner of the 2023 Widener University High School Leaders Award which recognizes students in the region who have demonstrated leadership by standing up for what is right, finding a way to address a wrong, or making a significant difference in their schools or communities. Oyeniyi is also a student journalist with Youthcast Media Group and has published two articles — one about climate storytelling and its importance in the environmentalist movement and another about 988, its impact on communities, as well as its future.

During her laureate year, Oyeniyi will be an ambassador for poetry around the city through readings and workshops.

The City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate program has been stewarded by the Free Library since the fall of 2017. The Poet Laureate is a civic position that recognizes an exceptional poet who also demonstrates a commitment to the power of poetry to engage and inspire people throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. In addition to the Poet Laureate position, the program also supports a new Youth Poet Laureate each year — an honor that comes with an educational scholarship. The Poet Laureate mentors the Youth Poet Laureate, who represents the voice of Philadelphia’s young poets. Both poets engage with Philadelphia citizens through readings, events, and a special project of their choosing.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

Leave this field empty

Add a Comment to Introducing the 2023–24 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate

Email is kept private and will not be displayed publicly
Comment must be less than 3000 characters
Congratulations Ms. Oyeniyi!
Jamie - Philadelphia
Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Congratulations Oyewumi!! Ms. Youth Poet Laureate!!
Joy M - Philadelphia
Sunday, September 24, 2023

Congratulations, Oyewumi! We're so proud of you!
Jess - NoLibs
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You don't know me, but I work here at the (Central) Free Library of Philadelphia. I just so happened to be in the lobby when you were speaking, and I was so impressed!!! Beauty & Brains all in one!! May the stars guide your path to success.
Carla Stanley - Philadelphia
Monday, October 2, 2023