The City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate program is managed by the Free Library's Division of Cultural and Civic Engagement, guided by a governing committee comprised 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.
Trapeta Mayson: 2020-2021 Philadelphia Poet Laureate
Trapeta Mayson reads her poetry widely and works extensively facilitating poetry and creative writing workshops. Her work sheds light on and honors the immigrant experience as well as amplifies the stories of everyday people. She is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Literature, a Leeway Transformation Award, a Leeway Art and Change Grant, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grants. Her work was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow and an Aspen Words Emerging Writer's Fellow with the Aspen Institute. She is the author of She Was Once Herself and a chapbook, Mocha Melodies. Trapeta has also released two music and poetry projects, SCAT and This Is How We Get Through, in collaboration with internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist, Monnette Sudler. Her other publications include submissions in The American Poetry Review, Epiphany Literary Journal, Aesthetica Magazine, and Margie: The American Journal of Poetry among others.
Trapeta is a native of Liberia who grew up in North Philadelphia and Germantown. She is a member of the Greene Street Artists Cooperative in Germantown. Trapeta is a graduate of Temple University, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, and Villanova University School of Business. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a strong non-profit background, she currently works at a community mental health agency. As a teaching artist, she has worked with hundreds of youth and adults in schools, cultural institutions, correctional facilities, shelters, and numerous other community venues — using poetry to foster creative expression and promote healing. Trapeta is also a member of several local organizations where she partners with others to help mobilize and build community.
Mia Concepcion: 2019-2020 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate
Mia is a senior at the Science Leadership Academy. She was born in raised in South Philadelphia and has been an active part of the city's youth poetry slam scene for several years. She is also the published author of a poetry collection from her sophomore year. In her role as Youth Poet Laureate, she aims to engage young artists across Philadelphia with the creation of a poetry anthology, focusing on identity and social change. Mia wishes to use her voice and platform to change the perception of the arts industry, and establish poetry and arts careers as a serious path for the youth of Philly.