Meet Louis Lafair who was recently appointed as one of five National Student Poets and represents the program’s Southwest Region!

Louis Lafair, 18, is a senior at St. Stephen’s High School in Austin, Texas. He’s been “playing with words” since second grade. Louis translates his love of writing, reading, speaking, connecting, and challenging preconceived notions into all aspects of his life. As co-licensee and MC for TED xYouth@ Austin, Louis leads a team of more than twenty students and adults, and has worked with a wide range of speakers, including slam poet Joaquin Zihuatanejo.

In an excerpt from the beginning of his poem “Re:Think Language” the poet writes:

I.Text Message to my Girlfriend


II. Conversation with my Grandma

Don’t talk about the death of language.
I—you—we will die, but
language does not die.
No one can crush that first palm riding the air
in a five fingered
because even curled
into a first that palm feels
with the thread of human tongue.

Read the rest of Louis’s poem here. Using “Re:Think Language” as a model, how would YOU write about language changing and evolving over time? Share your thoughts in the comments below and on NSPP Facebook page.

Read the rest of the 2013 National Student Poets work in the chapbook! Be sure to Like and follow the NSPP Facebook page for your region’s Student Poet highlight! You can also view more information on our website, and read a blog post about the appointment ceremony that took place this weekend at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers partner to present the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Five outstanding high school poets whose work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise are selected annually for a year of service as national poetry ambassadors.

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