Class of 2016 National Student Poets outside of the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery where they read their original persona poems

Class of 2016 National Student Poets outside of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery where they held their inaugural public reading

On September 8, the Class of 2016 National Student Poets were honored in an appointment ceremony at the White House, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. After the ceremony, the students gave their first public reading at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Each Student Poet read an original persona poem inspired by a work of art from museums in their hometowns: the Baltimore Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Dallas Museum of Art.

Here are the artworks and the poems in their entirety. Read More

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Renal by Madison Brownson. Age 17, Grade 12. 2014 Gold Medal, Art Portfolio.

Hanel Baveja and Madison Brownson both create to help bring a new level of awareness to our lives and our bodies. While Hanel’s “greatest hope for my work is that my poems strike a chord of shared existence” with her readers, Madison’s “hope is to make the viewer pause and realize the beautiful complexity of their own anatomy or the world around them.” Both artists aim to awaken their audience to the intricacies of the world we share.

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is a selection from Hanel’s Award-winning portfolio, comprised entirely of poetry! You can also see more of Madison’s plush organs below!

When Clark’s Ice Cream Parlor first opened

Combinations we’d never even dreamed of.
Names too long to remember:
Dark chocolate ice cream with raspberry
cheesecake pieces and caramel bonbons,
sweet cream ice cream with bumbleberry
compote and jordan almond fudge chunks. Read More

(Photo Credit: Academy of American Poets).

As autumn swept across New York City, the 2013 Class of National Student Poets prepared to leave their hometowns for the Big Apple. Home of Walt Whitman and cobble stone streets. Home of Brownstones and Marianne Moore. The National Student Poets read more poems. They matched the names of poets they have loved and known on paper with their headshots; ready to recognize them in person and spot them out of the crowd. “Poet! I implore you!” They decided what to pack (slacks? jeans?). They wondered if they could even squeeze in a Broadway Show or extra slice of New York pizza into their trip. They filmed the incredible “Poets in the Park” on a crisp, beautiful morning in Central Park. And what brought them to this great and literary metropolis? All five attended – and took part in – the Academy of American Poets’ Poets Forum from October 24 – October 26, 2013. Read More

After attending the incredible Academy of American Poets’ Poets Forum, the five National Student Poets filmed and edited their own short film in Central Park entitled, Poets in the Park. Check it out!

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.


Guest post by National Student Poets Program (NSPP) Coordinator, Jeanette Anderson

Growing up in New York City, I remember reading poems on the subway and bus rides to my school located on the outskirts of Manhattan Beach. I braced for the winter winds to whip the water around the school’s steps. I carried Adrienne Rich. I carried Kenneth Koch (especially his great love poem “To Marina”):

Every detail is everything in its place (Aristotle). Literature is a cup

And we are the malted. The time is a glass. A June bug comes

And a carpenter spits on a plane, the flowers ruffle ear rings.

I am so dumb-looking. And you are so beautiful.

This weekend and nearly a decade later, I found myself on the subway with the 2013 National Student Poets. Read More