City chooses first-ever ‘youth’ poet laureate

Eight of the finalists for Boston Youth Poet Laureate included (left to right): Eliza Carpenter, Alondra Bobadilla, Norah Brady, Isabelle Goodrich, Tariq Charles, Kaylah Tshitenge, Madalen Bigsby-Licht and Asiyah Herrera.

Alondra Bobadilla of Hyde Park was named the City of Boston's first-ever Youth Poet Laureate on Saturday at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. Bobadilla, a 17-year-old student at Fenway High School, was one of nine finalists recognized at the showcase, sponsored by
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in partnership with the Boston Public Library, 826 Boston, MassLEAP, and Urban Word.

Other finalists were Anjalequa Birkett of Roslindale, Asiyah Herrera of Roxbury, Blessing Olayinka Adedeji of Hyde Park, Eliza Carpenter of Dorchester, Isabelle Goodrich of Hyde Park, Kaylah Tshitenge of Hyde Park, Madalen Bigsby-Licht of Jamaica Plain, Norah Brady of Jamaica Plain, and Tariq Charles of Dorchester.

In her role, Bobadilla will work alongside Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola as an advocate for poetry, language and the arts, and to create a unique artistic legacy through public readings and events. The mission of both roles is to raise the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Bostonians. Similar to the Boston Poet Laureate, the Youth Poet Laureate is a ceremonial appointment. Bobadilla will receive a $500 honorarium each year.

"We are excited to have Alondra as our inaugural Youth Poet Laureate," said Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola. "Her passion for her home, poetry, and issues affecting the residents of Boston humbled all of us on the judging panel. I'm excited to learn and grow with this young person as we both work to excite the City around poetry."

"Becoming Boston's first ever youth poet laureate is an incredible honor and I am humbled and excited for what this position will bring," said Bobadilla. "I hope that in the next two years I will be able to foster a fiery love and appreciation for all things poetry and literature in the City of Boston alongside the various incredible people I will work with. The City is transitioning and making incredible strides and I am so happy to be a part of it."