Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate Program

Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate logo, depicts a hand holding a pencil in a tie-dye red circle

Meet the 2024 Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate, Julia Segrè!

Julia Segrè (she/her) is a 16 year old poet and athlete at Berkeley High. She started writing in her 7th grade English class, as part of her school's Oratorical Fest. Since then, she has been writing as a way to explore topics such as femininity, identity, folktales, and the way words shape every corner of our community. Through spoken word, she hopes to inspire the next generation to continue to create change through vulnerability. She served as the Alameda County co-Vice Youth Poet Laureate in 2022 and currently serves on SPOKES, the youth advisory board for Youth Speaks. When not writing, you can find her playing or coaching Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, or playing guitar.

You can read one of Julia's poems by clicking the link for the chapbook at the bottom of this page.

Meet the 2024 Berkeley Vice Youth Poet Laureate, Serena Griffin!

Serena (she/her) is a junior at Saint Mary's College High School. She is a writer of various forms, dedicated to amplifying her voice in a way that reflects and celebrates unique stories, struggles, and triumphs. Through her creations, Serena hopes to inspire feelings of understanding and connection that work to uplift and empower. She is a soon to be two time published author who is excited to continue her journey of using words to create art!

You can read one of Serena's poems by clicking the link for the chapbook at the bottom of this page.


The Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate Program is a project to elevate and amplify Berkeley teens’ voices through poetry. Teens will get a chance to explore their civic voices, join a cohort of young writers, and help nurture a writing environment at the library and in school.

The laureate and vice laureate will serve for a calendar year and have the opportunity to perform at library and city functions, lead a community art project, and participate in writing workshops. They will also be eligible to represent Berkeley in the National Youth Poet Laureate Competition.

Important dates

Applications for the 2025 Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate contest will be open from September 3, 2024-October 3, 2024. A link and instructions will be provided at that time.

The 2025 Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate and Vice Laureate will be announced in early-January 2025, followed by an in-person celebration and program.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible if:

  • You will be age 13-18 as of January 1, 2025;
  • You live in Berkeley or attend school in Berkeley;
  • You will live locally for the calendar year of 2025 and won’t be enrolled in college full-time during the whole year.

How to apply

The application for the 2025 Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate contest will be available in the early fall of 2024. 

Tips for applying

Basic Personal and Contact Information

You will need to have the following:

  • Email
  • Name
  • Age
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • School you are attending for the 2024-25 school year
  • Phone number (optional)


The resume/CV will be submitted as an attachment (any format, such as pdf or doc, will work). The resume/CV is a chance for you to share about your experience with civic engagment, social justice, work experience, education, awards, and additional skills/experiences. It is okay to leave a section blank if you do not have any experience that fits. However, it is a requirement to submit a resume/CV, so simply fill it out to the best of your ability.

For the resume/CV, you are encouraged to use the template provided:

Youth Poet Laureate Resume/CV Template

Three Original Poems

The three original poems will be submitted as an attachment (any format, such as pdf or doc, will work). They must be original work and should not be over 10 pages total.

Learn about the judges and judging process

The Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate judging FAQs, process, rubric, and criteria are summarized here:

Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate Judging FAQs, Process, Rubric, and Criteria

Each year, Berkeley Public Library staff recruit a new cohort of judges from the broad communities of Berkeley and Bay Area poetry. The 2025 Judges will be announced soon!

Meet the 2024 BYPL Judges


Contact the BYPL Committee by email, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have:

The Berkeley Youth Poet Laureate program is supported by an alliance of community partners. These community partners include the City of Berkeley Civic Arts Commission and Berkeley Public Schools, in partnership with Urban Word.

Youth Poet Laureate National Logo Championed By Urban Word Logo City of Berkeley logo


Read the BYPL 2023 Chapbook, featuring work from all the applicants who chose to share their work publicly.