Poet Laureate of Monterey County Daniel Summerhill

The inaugural Poet Laureate of Monterey County Daniel Summerhill. 

The Arts Council for Monterey County—in partnership with Urban Word, a New York City-headquartered youth program that fosters creative writing, poetry, spoken word, college prep, literature and hip-hop—is launching the Monterey County Youth Poet Laureate program. On Monday, January 23, the County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution confirming official county status for the program. 

If you are between the ages of 10 and 13 and have a poet in you, submit your poetry and try your luck. The application deadline is Tuesday, February 28.

Monterey County Youth Poet Laureate will serve alongside the county's first poet laureate of Monterey County, Daniel Summerhill, who was selected last year. Summerhill is spearheading the youth program, according to Arts4MC Executive Director Jacquie Atchison. 

“We have been very successful bringing more poetry to Monterey County," Atchison writes by email. "Daniel holds a monthly Poetry Open Mic at The Hem in Seaside on the first Mondays of each month. He is also holding poetry workshops throughout the county in partnership with Monterey County Free Libraries.”

The Youth Poet Laureate will act as an advocate and county ambassador for poetry, social action and the arts. The selected person will serve a one-year term and participate in several engagements throughout the year (candidates must be available to serve between April 2023 and April 2024). 

The elected poet will champion their own poetic practice while also encouraging their peers to take part in the art form through readings, workshops and by representing the county at events and engagements. Youth poets are expected to exhibit a commitment to excellence, civic engagement, leadership and social justice. A detailed outreach plan will be developed by Arts4MC. 

The inaugural Monterey County Youth Poet Laureate will be announced at 12pm Saturday, April 22, at the Marina Library. There will be a $1,000 honorarium awarded to the elected poet. All candidates must currently reside in Monterey County and submit five original poems for adjudication. Complete the application, submit a resume, statement of civic engagement, and statement of social justice activities. If you have any questions, email ReNae Jackson, arts education coordinator, renae@arts4mc.org.

The National Youth Poet Laureate program was founded in 2016 by Urban Word to celebrate local youth poets with the opportunity to serve their communities. It is loosely connected to the United States Poet Laureate initiative. Both programs are sponsored by the Library of Congress.

From a pool of tens of applicants who serve as their respective city or regional Poet Laureate, five finalists become selected on the national level, of whom one will gain the title of National Youth Poet Laureate.

The first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate was Amanda Gorman who delivered her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of  President Joe Biden in 2021.

For more information visit arts4mc.org/youth-poet-laureate/.

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