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Youth Poet Laureate Appointment Ceremony

Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) will be appointing the city’s first Youth Poet Laureate today in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall during a ceremony with Mayor Michael A. Nutter and current Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez starting at 5:00PM.

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Philadelphia, January 14, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Ms. Siduri Beckman has been names the City of Philadelphia’s first Youth Poet Laureate in a City Hall ceremony with Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez this afternoon.
“It is an honor to announce that the Poet Laureate Committee has selected a young person to promote poetry and the arts to the youth of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter.  “The City is proud to acknowledge the power and importance of poetry as an art form.  Programs like the Philly Youth Poetry Movement have shown the impact that poetry can have on the positive development of young people, and it’s significant that we are officially recognizing this impact.”
After a rigorous selection process, two finalists were selected, Jaya Montague and Siduri Beckman, both of whom read their original poetry as part of the event.  Following the announcement of the Youth Poet Laureate, Ms. Beckman and Ms. Sanchez recited poetry together for the first time.   A position complementing the city’s Poet Laureate, the Youth Poet Laureate was selected from among high school youth residing within the City of Philadelphia.
Gary Steuer, Chair of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and Chief Cultural Officer of the OACCE said, “We were pleased to see the caliber of talent displayed by the applicants for the position and look forward to working with the Youth Poet Laureate as she begins to fulfill the duties associated with the position.  We look forward to seeing her grow as a poet and develop her talents while inspiring her fellow youth to greater artistic pursuits and success in life” 
The Youth Poet Laureate will have the opportunity to work with the Sonia Sanchez, Philadelphia’s first Poet Laureate, and will be invited to make a number of appearances in her official capacity.  Sonia Sanchez was first announced as inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Philadelphia in January 2012.  She is currently serving a two-year term.  The Poet Laureate Governing Committee selected the Youth Poet Laureate with input from Ms. Sanchez. 
The other members of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee are Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia; Al Filreis, Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania; Beth Feldman Brandt, poet and Executive Director of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation; and Greg Corbin, Founder and Executive Director, Philly Youth Poetry Movement.
About the OACCE: 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.
Contact: Gary Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer, City of Philadelphia, 215-686-8446, gary.steuer@phila.gov
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