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Mayor Michelle Wu announces Boston's new Youth Poet Laureate

Boston Latin School’s Parker-Vincent Alva is Boston’s third Youth Poet Laureate.

 

Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Public Library, 826 Boston, GrubStreet, Fine Arts Work Center, Mass Poetry, and Urban Word, today announced Parker-Vincent Alva has been named the City of Boston’s next Youth Poet Laureate. 

“The voices of our youth should not only be seen as potential for the future, but an opportunity to inspire others – and those voices deserve to be amplified,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Congratulations to Parker-Vincent Alva on his appointment as our city’s next Youth Poet Laureate and to all of our finalists and semifinalists on their hard work.”  

“Poetry is a tool for empathy, advocacy, and self-expression that everyone deserves access to. The Youth Poet Laureate does important work in raising awareness of the literary arts among Boston’s youth and inspiring them to share their experiences through the written word,” said Chief of Arts & Culture, Kara Elliott-Ortega. “Parker is a talented poet and we are excited to see him grow in this role and carry on the legacies of past Youth Poets Laureate.”                                                                                                                          

 

Boston’s third Youth Poet Laureate, Parker-Vincent Alva (right, with his hands on his knees, wearing an orange and black jacket) finds out that he has been selected as the next Youth Poet Laureate.

Parker was born and raised in Roslindale and attends Boston Latin School, where he is involved in the BLS Theater Company and the Yellow Submarine Improv Troupe. He is also an alum of the GrubStreet Teen Summer Writing Fellowship, and has been published in BLS’s literary magazine, The Register. Parker enjoys writing poetry, short prose, and screenplays centered on the intersection of desire and identity. He views writing as his way to connect with the world, bring people together, and to better understand others by putting himself in their shoes.

Parker was named the third Youth Poet Laureate at a showcase at the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library on Saturday, January 27, 2024, where he read some of his original poetry alongside several Youth Poet Laureate finalists and semifinalists, including:

  • Alyssa Mascarenhas, John D O'Bryant School of Math and Science (finalist)
  • Farhiyo Omar, Charlestown High School (finalist)
  • Amy Luo, Josiah Quincy Upper School
  • Analyse Lisa Duffy, Codman Academy
  • Elijah Burke, Boston Latin Academy
  • Hannah LeBlanc, John D. O'Bryant Math and Science School
  • Kate Osakwe, Noble and Greenough School
  • Maya McNeill, Emmanuel College
  • Success Omoregie, Joseph Lee K8 School

During his tenure as Youth Poet Laureate, Parker will publish his own book of poetry to be made available at all 26 branches of the Boston Public Library, be mentored by Boston’s Poet Laureate, Porsha Olayiwola, and earn a $3,000 stipend.

“I am eager to work with Parker. He is an incredibly brilliant younger person with a clear passion and talent for poetry. I look forward to how Parker will help influence the poetry scene in our city,” said Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola. “I am hoping Boston can continue to cultivate spaces where the voices of young people are centered, echoed, and upheld.” 

The Boston Youth Poet Laureate program (BYPL) was created in cooperation with the national youth literary organization Urban Word, local youth literary leaders, the Boston Public Library, MassLEAP, and 826 Boston to promote appreciation for poetry. Similar to the Poet Laureate's civic challenge, the Youth Poet Laureate is tasked with inspiring deeper engagement in the written and spoken word. Alondra Bobadilla was named Boston’s inaugural Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020, and Anjalequa Birkett was announced as Boston's second Youth Poet Laureate in February 2022.

To learn more about the Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate programs, visit boston.gov/poetry.

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