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All Pittsburghers are Poets

City of Asylum's RADical ImPAct project celebrates poetry in Pittsburgh with its new program, "All Pittsburghers Are Poets."


City of Asylum


Grant Amount




City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. Beginning in May 2020 and running through April 2021, poems by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience are published weekly at Sampsonia Way Magazine.

City of Asylum will also be awarding Poets Laureate in four categories: 

  • City of Asylum Poet Laureate of Allegheny County
  • Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County
  • Emerging Poet of Allegheny Count 
  • American Sign Language Poet Laureate



In July 2020, City of Asylum announced the four inaugural Poets Laureate of Allegheny County. Learn about them here. They have kept busy during their terms of service:

  • Youth Poet Laureate Vincent Folkes performed virtually at City of Asylum in August and recently participated in a reading and discussion with United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh.

  • ASL Poet Laureate Mj Shahen is offering virtual presentations to schools and community groups about ASL language, culture, and storytelling.

  • Emerging Poet Laureate Paloma Sierra has curated a workshop series Between Poetry and Performance, running between December 2020-March 2021.

  • Poet Laureate Celeste Gainey is developing a project about environmentalism and poetry for Spring 2021. 

All Pittsburghers are Poets: Poem of the Week is up and running through April 2021. Find the poems here at Sampsonia Way, City of Asylum's online magazine.



Pittsburgh Current - July 21, 2020

WESA - February 17, 2020

NEXTpittsburgh - January 29, 2020