High school senior named Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate

BOSTON — An 18-year-old high school senior has been named Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate.

Anjalequa Leynneyah Verona Birkett, who attends the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, was selected this week from among three finalists, Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement.

“Young people don’t just represent the promise of tomorrow, they’re leaders in our neighborhoods and communities today,” Wu said in a statement. “Anjalequa is one of those leaders and I can’t wait to see how she elevates Boston youth voices as Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate.”

Birkett will receive a $2,000 annual stipend and will also publish her own collection of poetry. She will also be mentored by Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola.

“I will use this opportunity and platform to connect with Boston youth through poetry and the arts, find what issues they want to change and how they want to improve their community, and be the voice that makes it happen in my own way,” she said in a statement.

The Boston Youth Poet Laureate program (BYPL) was created in cooperation with the national youth literary organization, Urban Word, local youth literary leaders, the Boston Public Library, MassLEAP, and 826 Boston to promote appreciation for poetry.