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Philadelphia's new Youth Poet Laureate, Mia Concepcion. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News
Philadelphia's new Youth Poet Laureate, Mia Concepcion. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News

Philadelphia names 2019-20 Youth Poet Laureate

Mia Concepcion is a South Philly native, and currently a senior at Science Leadership Academy. 

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The Free Library of Philadelphia has just announced the 2019-20 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate.

Mia Concepcion, a senior at Senior Leadership Academy and South Philadelphia native, and will serve as the city’s next Young Poet Laureate.

“I am honored to have this position in Philadelphia,” said Concepcion. 

She was selected from a pool of several applicants by the Poet Laureate Governing Committee.

"Mia's application stood out for her clarity, skill and imagination, and during her interview, she wow’d us with her poise and presence and her plans for her laureate project." Yolanda Wisher, Co-chair of the Poet Laureate Governing Committee and 2016 Philadelphia Poet Laureate, said. 

Concepcion has been active in the poetry community in the city since her freshman year when she started taking part in weekly poetry slam competitions. She is also the published author of a poetry collection from her sophomore year. In her new role as Youth Poet Laureate, she hopes to engage young artists across Philadelphia by creating a poetry anthology focusing on identity and societal change. In addition, Concepcion hopes to use her platform to change the perception of the arts industry, and establish poetry and arts as possible, plausible and serious careers for Philly's youth.

“I have a lot of Philly pride being born and raised here, and to be able to give back to the city and community that has given me so much is really why I love poetry and the city,” she said.

The Youth Poet Laureate is tasked with representing the voice of Philadelphia’s young poets, and is mentored by the City of Philadelphia's Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate holds the civic position of demonstrating a commitment to the power of poetry to engage and inspire people throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. 

Raquel Salas Rivera, the 2019-20 Philadelphia Poet Laureate, praised how Concepcion's work "delves fearlessly into the painful complexities of existing in more than one world."

“The projects she has in mind for the city are insightful and I am confident she will bring much to the city during her term,” said Rivera. “I look forward to witnessing Mia’s vision and to aiding in whatever way I can.”

Concepcion will succeed 2018-19 Youth Poet Laureate, Wes Matthews.

The City of Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate program has been led by the Free Library of Philadelphia since the fall of 2017. 

“The goals of the Youth Poet Laureate Program, which actively promotes literacy, grows our city’s artistic community and encourages individual and collective expression, align with the Library’s mission to advance literacy, guide learning and inspire curiosity,” Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of Free Library of Philadelphia, said.

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