Hi! National Student Poet Claire Lee here. I hope everyone’s been having fun this summer and staying cool! I’m working with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers this summer and will be running a weekly blog called Poets on Poets—each week, I’ll be interviewing the other four 2012 National Student Poets Miles, Natalie, Lylla, and Luisa and writing about their year as poetry ambassadors! Anyhow, just wanted to share what I’ve been doing so far this summer, now that my term as a Student Poet is slowly coming to an end—no worries though, I’ll be a National Student Poet Emeritus in the fall—(hello there, two years of mandatory Latin.)
For those who are unfamiliar, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have partnered with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to present the National Students Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Five National Student Poets each represent a different region of the country and are selected through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. I’m the current Student Poet of the Northeast Region and hail from New York City!
In addition to writing more (since it is the summer), I’ve been reading at a lot of different places. In July, I spoke and read at a poetry workshop for high school students led by the MFA interns at the Academy of American Poets. We had a great discussion that day about the difference between reading poetry and hearing it, as well as the dichotomy between reading aloud and performing poetry—a lively debate that quickly prompted guerrilla readings and performances, followed by some YouTube videos of slam performances, such as Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make” and Kait Rokowski’s “New Insults.”
All in all, a great day. A curious thing that caught my attention was the fact that the poetry workshop consisted of all girls. Why is there such a disparity between the number of male and female writers and poets in today’s generation of teenagers? Just something to chew on… (Hmm, I wonder what Miles thinks… Maybe I’ll ask him when I interview him for my next blog post!)
I also had the fantastic opportunity of reading with the 6 amazing poets of Line Assembly this past Sunday on July 28 at the 3rd Annual New York City Poetry Festival (NYCPF 2013) on Governors Island. (For those who are unfamiliar, Line Assembly is a group of six poets who have been traveling the US on tour to spread their poetry far and wide!) Initially, I didn’t know what to expect, but once I arrived on the festival grounds, I was so excited to see people milling around, setting up picnics on the grass to eat, listen, and enjoy each others’ company in the presence of some great poetry readings.
Hope everyone has been taking the wonderful summertime to read and write! In case you need some recommendations, some noteworthy and/or interesting things out of all the stuff I’ve been reading include Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Thomas Pynchonh’s short story “Entropy,” and some Sylvia Plath (1947 Scholastic Awards winner) thrown into the mix.
On another note, the public appointment ceremony for the Class of 2013 National Student Poets is September 22, 2013 at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.!!!! OH EM GEE. I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE IT, I’M SO EXCITED. ALSKDJFASKLDF. (Excuse me, that was the sound of my fingers spazzing on the keyboard.)
Stay tuned to hear more from me; the other four Student Poets Miles, Luisa, Lylla, and Natalie; and perhaps some more details about the next class of NSPP-ers!