Yolanda Wisher named Philly's new Poet Laureate

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Friday, February 5, 2016
VIDEO: Yolanda Wisher named new Poet Laureate
Mayor Jim Kenney today announced the appointment of the City of Philadelphia's third Poet Laureate, Yolanda Wisher.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has a new Poet Laureate.

Mayor Jim Kenney announced Yolanda Wisher's selection on Friday.

As the city's third Poet Laureate, Wisher will attend community events, speak at different schools and serve as a mentor.

"It is a breathtaking honor to be selected to serve as our city's Poet Laureate, following in the footsteps of Sonia Sanchez and Frank Sherlock," Wisher said in a statement.

"I'm proud that my city has a post that affirms poetry as a vehicle for civic engagement and expression. Born in Philly, I returned sixteen years ago in search of a poetry community. I found it, and it has shaped and inspired me."

The announcement of her selection as Poet Laureate touted her experience:

Yolanda Wisher is a multidisciplinary poet and educator. A Founding Cultural Agent and the Rhapsodist of Wherewithal for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, she also served as the Director of Art Education for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program from 2010 to 2015. Previously, Wisher worked as an English teacher at Germantown Friends School, where she founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival (2006-2010).

Wisher' poetry has earned her many accolades. Wisher is a Pew Fellow (2015), Leeway Art & Change Grantee (2008), Cave Canem Fellow (1999-2000), and the first Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999). Her work has been featured in Fence, GOOD Magazine, Harriet: The Blog, MELUS, Ploughshares, The Sun Ra Mixtape Vol. 1, and in the anthologies Gathering Ground, Gravyland, Lavanderia, Stand Our Ground, and The Ringing Ear. Wisher is also the author of Monk Eats an Afro and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song.