Oakland Youth Poet Laureate

Final Performance

The announcement of the 2016 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate will take place as part of the annual BeastCrawl festival in July, with performances by all finalists. The Laureate will receive: A $5,000 scholarship, leadership opportunities and mentoring.

Impact Hub
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
July 16th, FREE
6:00PM – Reception
6:30PM – Event Starts

Finalists: Azariah Cole-Shephard, 18 | Lucy Flattery-Vickness, 17 | Isabel Hallock, 17 | Nandi Maunder, 14 | Emma Talamantes, 17

Honorable Mention: Stephanie Vega-Gallardo, 17

Meet The Judges

About The Program

Oakland Youth Poet Laureate: In partnership with the Oakland Public Library, this program is the first of its kind. The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities. Each year we accept submissions from talented young writers (ages 13-18) to be considered for the city’s top literary honor. The Laureate earns an educational scholarship and embarks on a year of opportunities as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression. In addition to the annual poetry competition, the program includes year-round workshops, public performances, publishing, and mentoring for young writers.


2015 Youth Poet Laureate – Tova Ricardo

Tova Ricardo is Oakland’s 2015 Youth Poet Laureate. Tova began writing poetry in 6th grade and fell in love with the ways that words and characters tie together to spark emotion and controversy inside the reader. Tova soon realized that her first loves were literature and poetry, and knew that she had found the one place where she wouldn’t have to conform to society’s expectations. The meeting of pen to paper allows Tova to claim her freedom of expression and the emotional terrain that surrounds the construction of human identity. Issues of race, gender, sexuality, family dynamics, community, and social stigma crackle like electricity throughout Tova’s work.

Book Poet Laureate

Meet Oakland’s Laureates

  • Tova Ricardo Bentley High School – 2015 Poet Laureate
  • Sophie Elkin Oakland School for the Arts – 2014 Poet Laureate
  • Obasi Davis Berkeley High School – 2013 Poet Laureate
  • Stephanie Yun Skyline High School – 2012 Poet Laureate

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The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate is a joint program of Youth Speaks and the Oakland Public Library in collaboration with more than a dozen community partners and funded with the generous support of The Friends of the Oakland Public Library and the Youth Speaks Youth Poet Laureate Fund.


Youth Speaks

Youth Speaks