Claire Beeli Selected as Long Beach’s Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate

Four Poet Ambassadors also selected at live announcement ceremony

Long Beach, CA – During a live announcement ceremony held on June 1, Long Beach announced its first ever Youth Poet Laureate and Poet Ambassadors of its inaugural Youth Poet Laureate (YPL) program, which brings Long Beach youth the opportunity to enact positive change in their communities through activism and art.

“Every single youth who participated in this program should be proud of their talent, creativity and passion,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “Congratulations to Claire, our four Poet Ambassadors and everyone involved in the success of this inaugural program.”

Claire Beeli was selected as the Youth Poet Laureate for her involvement in Long Beach’s academic and literary community and for her riveting portfolio. Claire’s poems were not only exemplary examples of the medium’s possibilities, melding poignant social commentary with clever metaphors and rich imagery, but were also indicative of her work in the literary-arts as a library volunteer, beta reader for The Young Writers’ Initiative and editor-in-chief of La Fuente, Wilson High School’s literary magazine.  

“I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to share my voice in support of the city I love so much. I look forward to the opportunity to contribute to Long Beach’s literacy programs, and I’m excited to spread the joy of writing to my fellow LBUSD students,” said Claire Beeli. “My goal is to improve access to writing resources and avenues of publication through initiatives like literary magazines and community workshop events, such as Wilson High School’s La Fuente Literary and Art Magazine. Thank you to the judges and to my talented peers, with whom I look forward to working as the Poet Ambassadors.”

Four Poet Ambassadors were also announced at the evening ceremony and include: Helena Donato-Sapp, Matilda Iem, Kieran Lundy, and Sofia Uribe. As the top Youth Poet Laureate, Claire will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Each Poet Ambassador will receive a $500 scholarship. Over the course of the next year through spring 2024, the YPL Cohort will engage local youth in literary-arts programming, will be provided with mentorship and resources needed to bring the community projects and vision of Long Beach’s future to life, and will have created a citywide literary initiative and have made personal connections with organizations and individual partners throughout the city.

“At its core, the Youth Poet Laureate program is a celebration of youth at the intersection of artistic excellence and civic engagement,” said Cathy De Leon, Director of Library Services. “It has been a truly wonderful experience to witness the journey of each poet participant throughout this program’s inaugural year and we look forward to growing the Youth Poet Laureate program at the Library each successive year. Congratulations to our Poet Laureate, our Poet Ambassadors and everyone who participated.”

“The inaugural Youth Poet Laureate and Ambassadors are public artists and civic leaders who use words in creative ways to share people’s stories. The Arts Council for Long Beach is proud to welcome them to the community of public artists in our city,” said Arts Council Executive Director Griselda Suárez. “We look forward to continuing to support their artistic careers.”  

Long Beach’s YPL program is sponsored by the Long Beach Public Library (LBPL), in partnership with the Arts Council for Long Beach and supported by Urban Word NYC. The national YPL program began in New York in 2008 and has expanded to more than 70 communities across the nation. This is the first year of the YPL program in Long Beach. More information about the program, including an anthology of this year’s YPL participants, is available on the LBPL website.

By City of Long Beach and Long Beach Public Library

Kiana Martin
Youth Poet Laureate Coordinator
Long Beach Public Library

1 Comment

Leave a Reply