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A Liberian born writer is named Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate

Is she excited about this new venture? Does she use her poetry to reach African diaspora communities? What age did she start writing? Any poet mentors inn her life?

A Liberian born writer is named Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate

The City of Philadelphia has a brand new Poet Laureate. Trapeta Mayson, born in Liberia but raised in North Philadelphia and Germantown, will serve as the city’s 2020-2021 Poet Laureate. The post involves ceremonial and community-outreach duties, including at least one reading at the Free Library. The Poet Laureate position is conferred on those who demonstrate a commitment to the power of poetry to engage and inspire people throughout the communities and neighborhoods in the city. She will also serve as a mentor to the city’s youth poet laureate, Mia Concepcion of South Philadelphia. The post comes with a $5,000 stipend paid by the Free Library to support a community project that the Poet Laureate will design.

A graduate of Temple University, Bryn Mawr University and the Villanova School of Business, Ms. Mayson’s poetry focuses on the challenges and triumphs of the immigrant experience. She is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Literature and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In addition, she is an Emerging Writer’s Fellow with the Aspen Institute. She is also the author ofSheWasOnceandMochaMelodies,a paperback booklet of poems.

A licensed Clinical Social Worker with a strong non-profit background, she currently is employed at a community mental health agency. As a teaching artist, Ms. Mayson has worked with hundreds of young people in schools, cultural institutions, correctional facilities and shelters using her poetry to inspire creative expression and to promote healing.