City of Asylum American Sign Language Poet Laureate Allegheny County

City of Asylum American Sign Language Poet Laureate of Allegheny County will:

  • serve a one year term (April 2020-Mar 2021)
  • receive a prize of $1,000
  • perform during events programmed by City of Asylum in diverse venues across the county throughout the term

City of Asylum will provide interpretation. During performances, ASL poetry will not be voice-interpreted into English unless requested by the poet.


  • Applicant must reside in Allegheny County
  • Applicant must have native fluency in ASL
  • Applicant must be 16 years of age or older
  • Applicant must demonstrate a commitment to the Deaf community and the development of their own ASL poetry

Application Details

A completed application form includes:
(1) applicant’s contact information
(2) resume or CV with a record of past publications and performances
(3) an artist statement
(4) 10 minutes of video of ASL poetry performance*

*Poems may be original compositions or translations of poetry into ASL. Video links to complete poems only, not edited excerpts, will be considered. Only the content of your videos will be judged on the basis of artistic excellence. Videos can be self-filmed or footage of live performance.

You may submit your ASL poetry sample for early consideration in the series All Pittsburghers are Poets: Poem of the Week, published online in Sampsonia Way Magazine. See application for details.
Applications are closed for the 2020-2021 term.

Meet the Judge

Greg Mendenhall, M.A. and M.Ed., is the School Principal at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.

Employees of RAD or City of Asylum may not apply.

City of Asylum is grateful for support from the following partner:

This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).
City of Asylum thanks Cristina Hartmann for serving as an advisor for this award.

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