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

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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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou know the drill: everyone goes around the circle and says their name, where they’re from, and some “interesting fact” about themselves. It’s standard first-day-of-school-or-camp-or-other-student-activity procedure. Meanwhile you sit there, the very last person in the circle, knowing that there’s really no way you could remember all these names anyway, but especially not now since all you can do is focus on coming up with that one “interesting fact.” It has to be something unique and memorable (because first impressions are important), but not something too weird (because first impressions are important), and it should by no means evoke any kind of follow-up question (because second impressions are even more important, and you’re just not ready for that yet). Then there’s the pressure of going last—these people are expecting some grand finale, and really how can you beat “I once went skydiving with my grandpa” kid? Flustered, you end up blurting out something (like: “I’m a fan of Netflix” or “my favorite color is aquamarine”) that, while important, doesn’t really define you (except that now it does—you will be “aqua girl” in the minds of all your peers for at least the next few hours).

That’s kind of how I feel right now.

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Courtney Buckland, the Alliance’s Associate Manager of Affiliate Services, at the 2015 National Art Educators Association Annual Convention in New Orleans.

As an artist, the National Art Educators Association Annual Convention (NAEA) is my favorite event–I feel like when I arrive I am with my tribe. Big jewelry, rainbow-colored hair, and thousands of art educators, administrators, and even some students about to begin the path to becoming art educators themselves. The fact that this year’s convention was in New Orleans was particularly welcome after the long, cold winter we had in New York City. I was continuously pleased by how much NAEA was able to bring the feel of New Orleans to the convention. There was no shortage of masks, Mardi Gras beads, and sunshine! Read More


The Youth Poetry Ambassadors pose after a day of performances at the Poetry Foundation. Represented are the National Student Poets Program, Young Chicago Authors, Poetry Out Loud, and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. Photo by George Gong.

In Chicago, on April 2–3, the National Student Poets Class of 2014 convened at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago to kick off National Poetry Month with a Youth Poetry Assembly. The National Student Poets were joined by their peers representing other programs throughout the nation: Poetry Out Loud, Young Chicago Authors, and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. The performances were electric, as each of the eleven writers, readers, and performers took to the stage to share their poetry with one another and an open audience of poetry lovers.
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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