Applications starting for new Long Beach Youth Poet Laureate program

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Applications starting for new Long Beach Youth Poet Laureate program

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The new Long Beach Youth Poet Laureate (LBYPL) program is being formed by The Long Beach Public Library and the Arts Council for Long Beach in order to provide local kids with literary arts, civic engagement and performance opportunities.

“Adding to the incredible diversity of arts in Long Beach, the Long Beach Youth Poet Laurate Program will give kids an opportunity to express themselves creatively through yet another medium with written and spoken word programs,” Mayor Robert Garcia said.

The Long Beach Youth Poet Laureate program was established by a city council agenda item that was unanimously approved, and originally brought forth by Councilmember Rex Richardson and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Jeannine Pearce, Dee Andrews and Roberto Uranga.

“From Langston Hughes to Maya Angelou, our most prolific writers began at an early age,” said Councilmember Rex Richardson. “We are thrilled to be joining the National Poet Laureate movement, now in 41 cities across the country, in creating a platform to promote literacy and creativity, while inspiring and amplifying the voices of our diverse and talented teens.”

One laureate and multiple poet ambassadors will be chosen to represent Long Beach’s youth in literacy and the arts through performances, mentorships and other projects.

The laureate and poet ambassadors will also receive an educational scholarship. The LBPYL program will be funded by the national nonprofit Urban Word.

The program is open to Long Beach teens between the ages of 14 to 19. Selected participants must be able to be involved in the program from May 2020 through April 2021.

Applications will be judged by the applicants poetry, as well as any community engagement or leadership roles they’ve been involved with.

Each application should contain five poems about Long Beach, a resume and an artist statement, as well as legal guardian information for participants who will still be minors by the March. 31 deadline.

Those interested in applying should visit the Arts Council for Long Beach’s website.

Up to 15 finalists will be chosen during April, National Poetry Month, and contacted no later than April 21.

The Long Beach Public Library will host four workshops to help teens with their applications to the program.

These will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Billie Jean King Main Library, Thursday, Feb. 27, from 5pm to 6:45pm at the Los Altos Neighborhood Library, Saturday, Mar. 7, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library and Tuesday, Mar. 24, from 5pm to 6:45pm at the Mark Twain Neighborhood Library.