The City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate program is administered by the Free Library of Philadelphia and guided by a governing committee composed of poets, educators, and arts-organization professionals from around the city.

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 two-year Poet Laureate position, the program also supports a new Youth Poet Laureate each year. 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.

Applications are now being accepted for Philadelphia's next Youth Poet Laureate

Are you our community's next Youth Poet Laureate? Applications for the September 2024 through June 2025 Youth Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 5, 2024.

Review the information and apply today

2024-2025 Philadelphia Poet Laureate

Kai Davis

Kai Davis Photo by Shawn Theodore

Kai Davis is a Black Queer writer, performer, and teaching artist from Philadelphia. Her work explores Blackness, Queerness, womanhood, and the ways these identities converge, as well as examining how power structures function on a global, national, interpersonal, and internal level. Among the topics she discusses are structural racism, misogyny, Black womanhood, ancestral trauma, mental health, intersectionality, and Queer love.

Davis spends most of her time working as Poetry Editor for Apiary Magazine and as Co-Host and Artistic Director for Philadelphia-based poetry performance collective The Philly Pigeon. Davis also visits high schools and local non-profit organizations, teaching poetry to marginalized and under-served youth. She performs her work across the country and hosts writing workshops at colleges and universities when not in Philadelphia.

Davis has published four chapbooks: Music & Marrow (2013), The Falling Action (2014), Black Chronicle (2016), and Ain't I? (2019). Her work has been published in The Offing (2018), The Shade Journal (2019), and Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought (2021).

2023-2024 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate

Oyewumi Oyeniyi

Oyewumi Oyeniyi

Oyewumi Oyeniyi is a senior at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. 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.

"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.

For more information, including requests for appearances by the Philadelphia Poet Laureate or Youth Poet Laureate, contact Please note that we may not be able to attend all requests out of respect for the time of the two poets.