City of Philadelphia Introduces 2016 Youth Poet Laureate

For Immediate Release: July 07, 2016
Published By: Office of the Mayor
Contact: Pamela Yau, (215) 686-4478, Pamela.Yau@phila.gov

Philadelphia – Today, the City of Philadelphia announced its 2016 Youth Poet Laureate at a ceremony in the Art Gallery at City Hall. Otter Jung-Allen, who is a sixteen year old from West Philadelphia and rising senior at Science Leadership Academy, will begin their one-year term effective immediately.

“We are proud to have Otter Jung-Allen serve as the City of Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate and to lead by example in demonstrating to young Philadelphians that poetry can be educational tool, a form of expression and a means of connection with people of all ages,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.

Otter was selected by the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher to serve as the city’s fourth Youth Poet Laureate, a role that provides an opportunity for an outstanding young poet to give voice to their fellow students and children through the medium of poetry. Otter will be mentored by Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher, as the Youth Poet Laureate program was created to complement the City’s Poet Laureate program, which is also managed by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. As Youth Poet Laureate, Otter will work with Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher to promote poetry, literacy, and arts education through community events and visits to Philadelphia schools and libraries across the city.

“The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy look forward to working with Otter this year to reach Philadelphians in their neighborhoods through poetry,” said Chief Cultural Officer Kelly Lee. “As Youth Poet Laureate, Otter will have the valuable opportunity to not only perform throughout the city but also to educate their fellow Philadelphians of the importance of this living art form.”
Among their recent accolades, Otter is the 2015 Brave New Voices International Champion and the 2015 Liberty Unplugged Champion. Otter also serves as the performance coach of Science Leadership Academy’s Slam League team.

At the ceremony, outgoing Youth Poet Laureate David Jones of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School was recognized for his year of service along with 2016 Youth Poet Laureate finalists Husnaa Hasim of Mastery Charter School – Shoemaker Campus and Zoe Gray, who is homeschooled.

The members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee are:

  • Beth Feldman Brandt, poet and Executive Director, the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation;
  • Dr. Cathy Cohen, Education Director, ArtWell;
  • Al Filreis, Faculty Director, Kelly Writers House, the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Trapeta Mayson, poet and Executive Director, Historic Germantown; and
  • Autumn McClintock, poet and Office of Strategic Initiatives, the Free Library of Philadelphia.
  • Alina Pleskova, Co-Editor, bedfellows magazine & Co-Host, Poetry Jawnspodcast.
  • Frank Sherlock, Poet Laureate Emeritus
  • Greg Corbin, Founder and Executive Director, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement

City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The mission of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is to support and promote arts, culture and the creative industries; and to develop partnerships and coordinate efforts that weave arts, culture and creativity into the economic and social fabric of the City. For more information on Creative Philadelphia, visit: www.CreativePHL.org, Facebook.com/CreativePHL and on Twitter and Instagram @CreativePHL.

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