Allegheny County Youth Poet Laureate

The Allegheny County Youth Poet Laureate will:

  • serve a one year term (April 2020-March 2021)
  • receive a prize of $500
  • read their poetry at the Youth Poet Laureate award ceremony on April 18
  • read during the award ceremony for the Official Poet Laureate of Allegheny County on April 29
  • participate in readings programmed by City of Asylum in diverse venues across the county throughout the term
  • be published in the 2021 Annual National Youth Poet Laureate Anthology and featured on the National Youth Poet Laureate website
  • be entered into the Northeast Regional Youth Poet Laureate Competition organized by Urban Word

Finalists for the Allegheny County Youth Poet Laureate will be also be recognized and provide a reading during the April 18th award ceremony.


  • Applicant must be between 13-19 years of age 
  • Applicant must reside in Allegheny County during the award term (April 2020-March 2021)
  • Applicant must demonstrate artistic excellence and a commitment to social justice* and civic engagement**

*‘A commitment to social justice’ includes efforts in political activism, organizing, school participation, and volunteering.
**We define ‘civic engagement’ as formal or informal activities devoted to improving the quality of life in the applicant’s community.

Application Details

A completed application form includes:
(1) contact information
(2) complete answers to short-answer questions
(3) a writing sample of 5 poems (10 pages maximum)

You may submit links to unedited video or audio yourself reading your poetry (10 minutes maximum, self-film accepted). Only the content of your performance, not the production quality, will be judged.

You may submit one unpublished poem for early consideration for the series All Pittsburghers are Poets: Poem of the Week, published online in Sampsonia Way Magazine beginning May 2020. See application for details.

The deadline to submit applications is March 2, 2020.

Apply Online Here

Selection Process

A panel of judges will choose the Allegheny County Youth Poet Laureate and Finalists from a long list provided by City of Asylum staff. Your application materials are confidential. City of Asylum reserves the right to reject incomplete or ineligible submissions. 

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact

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

This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).
Urban Word is the primary partner for the Allegheny County Youth Poet Laureate (AC YPL).
The AC YPL is an official member of National Youth Poet Laureate Program, led by Urban Word.

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