Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher (2015) was appointed the third Philadelphia Poet Laureate by Mayor Jim Kenney during a ceremony at City Hall on February 5, 2016. During her two-year term, Wisher will serve in both a creative and civic capacity, "publicly represent[ing] the city in the medium of poetry, and serv[ing] the art form within the city," according to the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.
"I'm proud that my city has a post that affirms poetry as a vehicle for civic engagement and expression," Wisher said during her remarks, according to 6 ABC. "Born in Philly, I returned 16 years ago in search of a poetry community. I found it, and it has shaped and inspired me." Following her remarks, Wisher read her poem, A Love Letter to Philadelphia. (Read the poem here.>>)
Known for creating poetry that merges the personal and the political, Wisher writes for both artistic and community-oriented pursuits. The founder and director of the Germantown Poetry Festival, Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (2014), and a Founding Cultural Agent for the US Department of Arts and Culture.
On February 20, Wisher will host the "Poetic Address to the Nation," a collaborative poetry event at the Painted Bride Art Center, which will be broadcast live on the online news network FreeSpeechTV.