Poet Laureate Program for Allegheny County
Pittsburgh has long been a home for poetry, and City of Asylum continues this tradition by establishing the first Poet Laureate Program for Allegheny County with support from RAD.
The Poet Laureate of Allegheny County is an award and two-year service position offered to an emerging or established poet who seeks to engage with residents of Allegheny County through poetry. City of Asylum facilitates this award with support from a nomination committee and final judge.
The Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County is awarded to a young person between 13-19 years old who is passionate about their art and their communities. City of Asylum facilitates this award annually with support from a panel of judges and Urban Word.
Events featuring our Poets
- Feb 25, 2022: Pitt Black Excellence Bash ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu (Register here)
- Feb 22, 2022: Pitt Center for Creativity virtual Open Mic ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu (Register here for free)
- Jan 27, 2022: The Frick Pittsburgh’s Ekphrasis: Poetic Responses to Victorian Radicals ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu (Register here for free)
- Dec 7, 2021: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania annual meeting ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu
- Dec 4, 2021: Aja Lynn, Ekow Opoku Dakwa, Danielle Obisie-Orlu @ White Whale Bookstore with Write Pittsburgh
- Nov 20, 2021: Aja Lynn @ Saturday Light Brigade’s Youth Express (Listen here)
- Nov 16, 2021: City of Asylum ASL Slam ft. Mj Shahen (Rewatch here)
- Nov 13, 2021: Ekow Opoku Dakwa @ Saturday Light Brigade’s Youth Express (Listen here)
- Oct 30, 2021: Danielle Obisie-Orlu @ Saturday Light Brigade’s Youth Express (Listen here)
- Oct 30, 2021: Phoenix Thomas @ Saturday Light Brigade’s Youth Express (Listen here)
- Oct 23, 2021: Shivani Watson @ Saturday Light Brigade’s Youth Express (Listen here)
- Oct 20, 2021: Health Neighbor Network Convening ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu
- Sept 29, 2021: City of Asylum Jazz Poetry Concert ft Danielle Obisie-Orlu (Rewatch here)
Want to book a poetry reading or commission a piece from of our poets? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Youth Poet Ambassadors!
Eco-Justice for All!
Each Poet Laureate will undertake a community engagement project during their term. Inaugural Poet Laureate Celeste Gainey’s project was titled Eco-Justice for All! Poetry Confronts Climate Catastrophe. Comprised of a series of workshops and readings that took place during Summer 2021, Eco-Justice for All! invited community members to explore and respond, through reading, writing, and live performance, to the prompt:
How can poets use language to reveal, grapple with, even influence the urgent climate crisis and all those it affects? What happens when we explore this intersection in community to make a caring way through the Anthropocene?
Poet Laureate Program Alumni
In 2020 at the launch of All Pittsburghers are Poets, City of Asylum awarded an experienced poet in Allegheny County with a two year Poet Laureateship. Additionally, one year service terms were awarded to a Youth Poet Laureate, American Sign Language Poet Laureate, and an Emerging Poet Laureate. Meet our inaugural Poets Laureate!
Poem of the Week
City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. Beginning in May 2020 and running through April 2021, poems by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience were published weekly at Sampsonia Way Magazine. Read all 50 poems here.
All Pittsburghers are Poets in the Press
- Pitt Wire, “Ones to Watch: Danielle Obisie-Orlu“
- Bridges & Books Podcast, “EPISODE 14: Roseanne A. Brown & Fandom Culture” ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu
- The Pitt News, “Danielle Obisie-Orlu champions love, empathy as county youth poet laureate“
- Carnegie Mellon University News, “Putting the Pieces Together,” profile of Emerging Poet Laureate Paloma Sierra
- NEXTpittsburgh, “Meet Danielle Obisie-Orlu, the new Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County“
- Kidsburgh, “10 things to do with kids this week in Pittsburgh”
- Bridges & Books Podcast, “EPISODE 1: Rachael Lippincott, Vincent Folkes, & Joyful Queer Rep in YA“
- Sampsonia Way Magazine, “Why We Write: Inside the Creative Process with the Poet Laureates for Allegheny County“
- RAD, “Meet Mj Shahen – ASL Poet Laureate”
- City Paper, “Seven Days in Pittsburgh” features Paloma Sierra’s Between Poetry and Performance Workshop Series
- The Duquesne Duke, “Duquesne professor publishes full collection of poetry“
- Point Park University News, “Poem of the Week: Point Park Literary Arts Instructor’s Work Recognized by City of Asylum“
- Sampsonia Way Magazine, “Douglas Ridloff at Play: The Poet Brings ASL Slam to the World“
- Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama News, “Student News: Paloma Sierra Named Emerging Poet Laureate“
- Pittsburgh Current, “City Of Asylum Names Four Poets Laureate For Allegheny County“
- Kidsburgh, “5 questions for Vincent Folkes, Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County — and a poem“
- WESA, “City of Asylum launches Poet Laureate Program“
- NEXTpittsburgh, “All Pittsburghers are Poets: City of Asylum creates Poet Laureate posts, open to all Allegheny County residents“
Sampsonia Way Magazine is a publication of City of Asylum in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh.