First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a poetry reading in honor of the 2015 National Student Poets (from left: Anna Lance, David Xiang, De’John Hardges, Chasity Hale, and Eileen Huang) in the Blue Room of the White House, October 8, 2015. (Photo by Patrick G. Ryan for the National Student Poets Program.)

We are delighted to introduce Chasity Hale, De’John Hardges, Eileen Huang, Anna Lance, and David Xiang as the Class of 2015 National Student Poets! These students will join the ranks of esteemed and accomplished literary ambassadors for the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for young poets presenting original work.  Read More

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Poets Onstage Carnegie

The National Student Poets, Class of 2014, take a bow on-stage at Carnegie Hall.

The National Student Poets Class of 2014’s year of service is coming to an end—although it feels like just yesterday that they met in Washington, D.C. for their appointment events at the White House, where they read their work for the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Somehow, the months in their year of service flew by, past the Dodge Poetry Festival in October and National Poetry Month events throughout April. But there was a brief pause for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Events in NYC at the beginning of June, followed swiftly by an amazing stop in Aspen, Colorado, for the Aspen Ideas Festival.

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We are thrilled to introduce your fifth 2014 National Student Poet Southwest region representative, Madeline LaCesne! Madeline, age 18, is a senior at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Madeleine began writing poetry when she was six years old. After her parents gave her an antique bed, each night she used the back of its headboard to scribble poetry into the wood. She lost this work in 2005, when the headboard and her home were washed away by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans like her own identity is a blend of various cultures and bloodlines, so her work deals with unscrambling her identity and sparked an interest in genealogy as well as the city’s history. Among the writers she looks to for guidance are Anne Carson, Kimiko Hahn, and Anna Moschovakis.

Favorite quote about writing:

Quote from Milosz’s “Ars Poetica”: “The purpose of poetry is to remind us / how difficult it is to remain just one person.”

Fun fact:

Since I turned fourteen, the first thing I do as soon as I wake up on my birthday is read Richard Wilbur’s “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” aloud. Read More

Meet Julia Falkner, your West region 2014 National Student Poet representative! Julia is 17 and a senior at Monarch High School in Louisville, Colorado. Most of Julia’s work is about adolescence, gender, and vulnerability. She co-runs her high school’s Writers Society as well as edits and produces the school literary magazine,B-Sides. Additionally, she absorbs as much art as possible. In the coming year she hopes to start a film project, read the collected works of Shakespeare, and complete a science-fiction novel. When she isn’t writing, Julia keeps a loaded AP schedule, plays electric keyboards and guitar, and runs cross country for her high school.

Favorite Quote About Writing:
“Poetry can move the fulcrum of the mind just enough so that the world becomes electrified and bewildering.”

Fun Fact:
Julia volunteers at a local neuroscience lab and is currently working on a project investigating pain tolerance. Read More

Announcing your Midwest Region 2014 National Student Poet, Weston Clark! 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.

Weston, who hails from Zionsville, IN and is a sophomore at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, has been writing poetry since he was in first grade. He initially wrote Shel Silverstein–style poetry and has enjoyed exploring other styles, including free verse. Through his writing, Weston tries to evoke emotions in his audience. He strongly agrees with Maya Angelou’s philosophy: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

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