Berks County Poet Laureate
The Berks County Poet Laureate Competition, held every two years, is a Berks County tradition that Reading Area Community College is proud to uphold for more than a decade. The next Berks County Poet Laureates will be announced at the culmination of BardFest, a series of poetry readings held throughout Berks County throughout the month of April in celebration of National Poetry Month.
The Berks County Poet Laureate and Berks County Scholastic Poet Laureate must be Berks County residents. The Berks Scholastic Poet Laureate must be a student attending a Berks County high school. The new poet laureates will read their winning work at the culminating event, the Poet Laureate Celebration, held in April 2022, at in the Miller Center for the Arts.
The Ninth, and current, Poet Laureate is Anthony Orozco. Past Berks County Poet Laureates include Jayne Relaford Brown, Sandra Fees, Nancy Yeager, Maria McDonnell, Craig Czury, and Heather Thomas. The Fourth Scholastic Poet Laureate is Devanshi Patel, with past Scholastic Poet Laureates from Wilson and Governor Mifflin, including Samantha Gurnavage, a graduate of Wilson High School. Alexandra Papoutsis, a graduate of Wilson High School, and Sian Carter, a graduate of Governor Mifflin held the role formerly.
A poet laureate steering committee of community members of poets, readers, and writers will judge the semi-finalists and a poet of national merit will judge the finalists.
The 10th Berks County Poet Laureate Competition is NOW accepting submissions.
A $500.00 honorarium will be awarded to the winner.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the 10th Berks County Poet Laureate will be announced in April 2022.
Deadline for Electronic Submissions:
- Contest Rules
- Tips for submitting your poetry
- Complete the online entry form and upload your submission here.
Deadline for Mailed Submissions:
Proudly Sponsored by Reading Area Community College
In collaboration with: Barrio Alegria, Berks Bards, Berks County Public Libraries, and Pagoda Writers Group.
Ninth Berks County Poet Laureate Anthony Orozco
Anthony Orozco is a journalist, poet and performer based in Reading, Pennsylvania. His poetic works have appeared in publications including Holly and the Neighbors, The Nasiona, and Somos En Escrito. Mr. Orozco is known for performance-driven recitations and place-making community outreach projects. He has performed at high schools and universities in Pennsylvania and New York, led a year-long free monthly poetry workshop series, and was the resident artist who compiled the Pen Street: City of Poems (2019) anthology. He is a fellow for Report For America, and reports on Latino communities for WITF radio and PA Post newspaper. He holds a degree in journalism from the University of Cincinnati.
Fourth Scholastic Poet Laureate Devanshi Patel
Devanshi Patel, a graduate of Wilson High School, has followed her love of writing since middle school, often writing both fiction and poetry. She has earned several distinctions for her writing, including a Silver Key in the Scholastic Writing Awards for a poem, Woman of Color, and an Honorable Mention for a screenplay, By the Will of the Gods.