Salinas Youth Poet Laureate

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We are proud to announce that Kenya Burton has been selected as the new Salinas Youth Poet Laureate! 

Kenya is a 20-year old Salinas native who has received multiple awards for her poetry and has made many public appearances reciting her poems. "Poetry is a huge part of my identity and who I am as a person. It has given me a way to communicate to the world in a beautiful way."  You can watch her read her prize winning poem here.   Our runner up is Michael Ndubisi, another talented poet whose poem you can read here.

"We are thrilled at introducing Salinas' new Youth Poet Laureate, Kenya Burton," said Mayor Kimbley Craig. "We look forward to having them perform at upcoming city-sponsored events. Encouraging youth to explore their talents and supporting the arts is the lifeblood of this community."

A panel of five judges, representing a diverse group of experts from literacy, arts and educational organizations as well as local artists and activists, were responsible for the selection. The judges included Kimbley Craig, Mayor of Salinas, Rachelle Escamilla, poet and professor at CSUMB, Jesus xago Juárez, Artistic Director at Baktun12, Daniel B. Summerhill, poet and professor at CSUMB,  and Maria Garcia Teutsch, poet and professor at Hartnell College.  

Ernesto Lizaola, Community Education Manager, added that "All of the submissions were wonderful, and really showcased the talents of our local youth. It's too bad we couldn't award them all, but I'm confident Kenya will be a great spokesperson for Salinas' youth and for poetry in general." 

Support for this program is also provided by Friends of the Salinas Public Library (FOSPL) who provided funding to award a cash scholarship to the Salinas Youth Poet Laureate. FOSPL is a nonprofit organization of volunteers that works to provide supplemental funding for library programs and services, and to create public awareness and community support.

Stay tuned for information about upcoming events and programs.