Congratulations to Tele'jon (aka T) Quinn a leader with our Heal the Streets fellowship who has been selected as a finalist in the first Oakland Youth Poet Laureate competition. T is one of 7 Oakland youth who qualified as a finalist in the competition put on by Youth Speaks and the Oakland Public Library. This is T's second year in the Heal the Streets program and just last weekend he was one of the youth MCs of Throw Down for the Town.
A panel of celebrity judges including California poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and Oaklander poets Kenju Liu, Arisa White, Juliana Spahr, and Joshua Merchant, will choose the inaugural poet laureate in September. Every finalist will have their work published in an anthology that comes out in 2013, and the winner will earn a scholarship as well as the title of youth poet laureate for Oakland.
In one of the pieces he submitted to the contest, "Dialogue" T writes:
So if my poetry could walk she'd walk right here
And tell you a story that gives you hope for the future of her home Oakland
The Navajo people once said you can't wake a person that pretends to be asleep
So lets stop pretending that we do not see our reality
Open our eyes
And transform the reality we live in ...
Earlier this week the SFBG Guardian profiled all the youth finalists. And you can read more of T's poetry on Ella's Voice. Congratulations Tele'jon!