Napa County Poet Laureate Program

Napa County’s Poet Laureate is an honorary volunteer position appointed by the Napa County Board of Supervisors for a two-year term.

As an ambassador for poetry, the Napa County Poet Laureate is expected to promote citizens’ awareness of poetry, including spoken word, as well as heighten their appreciation of the art form. The Poet Laureate will strive to forge a meaningful connection with the community, undertaking projects that make poetry more available and more accessible to people in their everyday lives. During the Poet Laureate’s two-year appointment, they will be expected to present at selected public gatherings, initiate a dialogue between poets and the community, and inspire others in their writing, performance, and personal expression.

The Napa County Library and Arts Council Napa Valley facilitate the selection process on behalf of Napa County. The final appointment and announcement of the Poet Laureate rest solely with the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

Contact the Poet Laureate

2023-2025 Napa County Poet Laureate

Aisha Rivera

Rivera graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theater Art. They also attended Napa Valley College where Rivera earned an Associate of Arts in Psychology and Associate of Science in Natural Science and Mathematics. Rivera’s experience includes working as Equity and Inclusion Committee Head at Arts Council Napa Valley, Social Justice Educator at LGBTQ Resource Center, and more. Rivera currently serves as a board member for Arts Council Napa Valley.

"I have a passion for poetry, but also for diversity and giving back to my community. I believe that poetry can be a powerful tool to not only move us emotionally but illuminate topics that we may otherwise not talk about,” said Rivera in their application. “Diverse poetry that speaks about intersectional issues, I believe, can be the start of very important conversations. I also want to serve our community and be a Poet Laureate who supports diversity and positive social change. I want to see the written arts thrive and support the creative voices of those in our community. I have always been a poet, but I believe poets are born, made, and found every day. And even if one is not a poet, they can benefit from hearing or reading a really good poem."

Aisha Rivera Headshot

2022-2023 Napa County Youth Poet Laureate

Joey DeNatale

Joseph (Joey) DeNatale is in 11th grade at Vintage High School, where he enjoys playing football and participating in Concert and Chamber choirs. Joey attended Napa Valley Language Academy and Harvest Middle School’s bilingual dual immersion program and has volunteered for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley. Joey enjoys performing with school and community theatre groups and has previously performed with Lucky Penny, Cafeteria Kids Theatre, Napa High School, Napa Valley College, and Shakespeare Napa Valley. 

Joey and his band, The Turtlenecks, made up of four local high school students, have played original works at This is My Brave mental health fundraisers and via live concerts on Instagram. Joey also participated in Congressman Mike Thompson’s Student Leadership Council, where he and his peers led a climate change conference. Joey is grateful to have been chosen as this year’s Youth Poet Laureate for Napa County and looks forward to expressing important issues in our community through the art of poetry.

Portrait of Joey Denatale