Trapeta Mayson, M.S.S. ’95, has been named poet laureate of the City of Philadelphia. A native of Liberia who emigrated to the U.S. in 1975, she focuses her poetry on the immigrant experience and the stories of everyday people. The author of She Was Once Herself and Mocha Melodies, she has released two music-and-poetry projects, SCAT and This Is How We Get Through, with jazz guitarist Monnette Sudler.
Mayson has received a Pew Fellowship in Literature, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A social worker and teacher as well as a poet, Mayson told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she hopes to use the platform to “touch base with social service agencies, particularly those pertaining to mental health, in (Philly’s) communities.”
Managed by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the poet laureate post is a two-year position with ceremonial and community-outreach duties.