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Youth Poet Laureates Introduced In Philadelphia

(credit:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia is one of the few cities with a poet laureate and now it’s entered an even smaller group, cities with youth poet laureates.

“These two young sisters can come with me and travel with me and read and learn,” said Philadelphia’s poet laureate Sonia Sanchez.

She says she couldn’t pick just one of the dozens of nominees for the new title of youth poet laureate so she chose a pair – Masterman freshman Siduri Beckman and Jaya Montague, a junior at the high school for Creative and Performing Arts.

“I’m just like, ‘Is it me? Is this some kind of dream or something?’” said Jaya.

She lives with her hearing-impaired mother and grandmother in University City, and she’s the first in her family, says her grandmother, to show any interest in writing.

“We read her stuff, we stay behind her but we were shocked. She wanted us to come,” says Jaya’s grandmother.

Siduri is the daughter of a Penn arts professor, also overwhelmed by the honor.

“I’m really, really excited. I’m a little nervous but I really hope I can do great things this year with Sonia Sanchez and the city behind us, I think that a lot can be achieved,” said Siduri.

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