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In the news: Porsha Olayiwola

In the news: Porsha Olayiwola
Porsha Olayiwola

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Porsha Olayiwola has been appointed as the City of Boston’s new poet laureate, a role she will formally begin Jan. 1, 2019.

“Porsha’s eagerness to enhance the City of Boston through poetry, along with her commitment to increasing access to the arts in every neighborhood, make her an incredible asset,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m excited to see her vision of how we can use arts to facilitate inclusive and welcoming conversations across the city come to life over the next four years.”

A Jamaica Plain resident, Olayiwola is the artistic director at MassLEAP, a literary nonprofit organization in Massachusetts serving youth artists. She also co-founded The House Slam, a poetry slam venue at the Haley House Bakery Café in Roxbury that offers a free poetry slam and open mic events twice a month.

“I am eager and humbled to serve as Boston’s Poet Laureate,” said Olayiwola. “I am excited to work directly with writers across the city’s poetry spectrum to provide resources and build bridges between creative communities. With the City, I am looking to establish a youth poet laureate program, develop residential and workspace for writers and weave poetry into the everyday lives of Bostonians. Please look out for me in a library, classroom, lecture hall, City Hall, living room or street corner in the years to come!”

The poet laureate program, established in 2008, is a way to highlight literary arts and promote a citywide appreciation for poetry. The poet laureate’s challenge is to inspire deeper engagement in the written and spoken word, while acting as an advocate for poetry, language and the arts. The poet laureate is charged with raising the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Bostonians, which she does by attending public readings, civic functions, and poetry events. The poet laureate serves a four-year term.