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 City of Asylum 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.
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.
Events featuring our Poets
- January 16, 2023: Youth, Poetry, & Activism: Readings & Conversations with Allegheny County’s Youth Poet Laureate & Ambassadors
- July 12, 2022: Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series ft. Danielle Obisie-Orlu (Register Here)
- June 15, 2022: Poetry Unplugged: A Juneteenth Celebration ft. Phoenix Thomas (Register here)
- May 14, 2022: Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books ft. Toi Derricotte, Celeste Gainey, and Danielle Obisie-Orlu
Want to book a Poet Laureate for a reading or commission? Contact us at PoetLaureate@cityofasylum.org.
Youth Poet Laureate Ambassadors, 2022-23
Poet Laureate Program Alumni
Youth Poet Laureate Program Alumni
Eco-Justice for All!
Inaugural Poet Laureate Celeste Gainey’s project is Eco-Justice for All! Poetry Confronts Climate Catastrophe, a workshop and reading series. 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?
Eco-Justice for All! culminates with a poetry anthology in the form of a zine featuring the work of 25 poets published in June 2022.
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
- Trib Live, “Poetry pop-up event to generate buzz for 1st Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books“
- 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“
This project is supported in part by the taxpayers of Allegheny County through a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). RAD works here.
Urban Word is the leader of the National Youth Poet Laureate Network and the primary partner of the Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County program.
Sampsonia Way Magazine is a publication of City of Asylum in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh.