Philadelphia Poet Laureate Application

The City of Philadelphia seeks a Poet Laureate from among Philadelphia's talented writers. Administered by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the position was established to give one talented poet the opportunity to publicly represent the city in the medium of poetry and to serve the art form and the field of poetry within the city.
The Poet Laureate Position:
  • Is a two-year term from January 2020 through December 2021
  • Will be used to raise the profile of poetry and creative writing in general within the city of Philadelphia
  • Will provide the opportunity to participate in a community service activity as the Poet Laureate of Philadelphia
  • Will create and read poems for public events such as the Mayoral Inauguration if one occurs during their tenure
  • Will participate in at least one literary event or poetry reading at City Hall or other ceremonial reading and in one literary event or poetry reading at the Free Library annually. We anticipate additional opportunities for readings and appearances, but participation will be at the Poet Laureate’s discretion
  • Will provide mentorship to the Youth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia
  • The Poet Laureate will receive a stipend of $5,000 over the two years
Eligibility Requirements:
  • Applicant must be a resident of Philadelphia
  • Applicant must have a significant body of work and demonstrate an active commitment to the field of poetry
  • Applicant must demonstrate a record of commitment to community service
  • Application must include references that can speak to their work and community involvement
Application Process: 
  • Please complete the application form below. The open-ended questions are an opportunity to tell the selection committee about yourself, your poetry, and how you would use the Poet Laureate position to advance poetry in Philadelphia. 
  • In addition, applicants are required to submit a résumé (or biographical statement) and a sample of their poetic work. Poetry samples may be uploaded as a Word or PDF attachment or mailed to the Free Library via US Mail with a printed application. Links to videos of original performances may be submitted in addition to the written poems.
  • Applicants will be selected based on the strength of their submitted poems and their commitment to the community role of the Poet Laureate
  • Fully completed applications must be submitted online or postmarked to the Free Library by October 18, 2019. Please ensure you have completed the entire application before submitting, including attachments and references. The Free Library reserves the right to reject incomplete or incorrect submissions at their discretion. 
  • The Poet Laureate Governing Committee will confidentially review applications and make their recommendation to the Mayor.
If you have any questions regarding the Poet Laureate position or the application process, please contact

Save & Return

To save your progress and complete this application later, please create a login and click the "Save Progress" button at the end of the form. To access your saved application, simply return to the form and click the login button to the right.

Contact Information

Applicant Background

Please provide brief answers to the following questions, limiting each answer to 250 words. You may wish to compose your answers in a separate document and then cut and paste into the text boxes below. 
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Work Samples


As part of the Poet Laureate selection process, we request that you submit 2 references who can speak to the quality and breadth of your work, as well as your ability to work in the community as a representative of the City of Philadelphia.


By submitting this application you certify that you are willing and able to fulfill the duties of the Poet Laureate, if selected for the position. Poems submitted remain sole property of the applicant. This completed application will be submitted to the Free Library of Philadelphia and reviewed by the Poet Laureate Governing Committee. 
If you would prefer to submit a paper application, please type answers to the information and questions above and mail them with your four typed poems to:
Free Library of Philadelphia 
Attn: Andrew Nurkin 
1901 Vine Street 
Philadelphia, PA  19103
Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2019.