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Inaugural National Student Poet and Northeast Representative, Claire Lee, returns to the AYAW blog to interview the 2013 Class of National Student Poets for her “Poets on Poets” series.

This week’s interview is with National Student Poet and Southeast Representative, Aline Dolinh!

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Hi! Claire here with (sadly!) the last Poets on Poets blog post featuring National Student Poet Luisa Banchoff, who represents the Southeast region! This summer, Luisa partnered with the DC branch of Writopia Lab as an assistant instructor. Luisa will be attending Princeton University in the fall.

National Student Poet Luisa Banchoff

National Student Poet Luisa Banchoff

CL: What was the highlight of your year as a National Student Poet?
LB: Honestly, I’d have to say that it’d be an amalgamation of all the amazing and unique people we got to meet, from Andrea Gibson, Terrance Hayes, and Edward Hirsch.

CL: Could you be a wee bit more specific?
LB: Yes, yes, I know. Well, more specifically, my highlight would be my experience at the National Writing Project: Urban Sites Network Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, during National Poetry Month. It was so inspiring to meet teachers and hear them share their experiences and challenges in the classroom. Many teachers shared how they struggled to prepare their students for reading comprehension tests while instilling in them a love of literature. Many of the teachers I met shared a genuine desire to nurture a love of literature over the basic nature of getting a test question correct. It was so clear to me how each of them pass on their passion and enthusiasm to their students…I was just really awed by all the passion and enthusiasm.

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Hi! Claire here with the penultimate Poets on Poets blog post featuring National Student Poet Lylla, who represents the Southwest region! 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. Each year, five National Student Poets are selected through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for a year of service as poetry ambassadors, each representing a different region of the country. This summer, Lylla has partnered with Hope House, a central Louisiana shelter for women and their children, to lead two poetry workshops for the young children staying there.  She looks forward to her senior year this fall.

National Student Poet Lylla Younes

Meet National Student Poet Lylla Younes!

CL: (Struggles to operate camera after several failed attempts at connecting on Google+ Hangout.) Lylla! You got bangs! (After laughter has settled down.) So, highlight of your year…
LY: Would have to be meeting Edward Hirsch at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation during the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ceremony weekend in New York, just because I grew up reading his poetry. My dad has a book and gave it to me when I was young, and I’ve grown up with it. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to do awesome things with poetry like that in the future. I mean, my ultimate poetry ambition is to have his job, where he’s paid to just be a poet and do what he does. Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind working in an office like his—it’s gorgeous! But the most memorable moment during that whole eventful day is when he took me into his office after we all had lunch with him, and we talked about the Arabic ghazal, a poetic form that consists of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. The whole day was special, not just meeting Ed Hirsch, but also reuniting with Terrance [Hayes] and seeing him again. Yeah, we definitely got way closer as a group of poets.

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Hi! Claire here with a third blog post featuring National Student Poet Natalie from Illinois, who represents the Midwest! 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. Each year, five National Student Poets are selected through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for a year of service as poetry ambassadors, each representing a different region of the country. This summer, Natalie has featured in and performed at a poetry workshop hosted by Wordplay in Chicago, and will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall.

National Student Poet Natalie Richardson performing at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago at the Louder Than A Bomb finals this past March.

National Student Poet Natalie Richardson performing at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago at the Louder Than A Bomb finals this past March.

CL: (Struggles to set up the video chat via Google+ Hangout and starts talking.)
NR: I can’t hear you.

CL: (Face falls and types in the chat box on the side, “I’ll ask you the questions here, and you can respond by speaking.”)
NR: Yay for one-sided conversations!

CL: Part one—general questions. What was the highlight of your year as a National Student Poet?
NR: (Pauses.) Wow, there are literally tons to choose from, but if I had to pick one, it would be meeting the President and the First Lady simply because that was the first time that the gravity of the program really hit me. Up to that point, everything was wonderful, of course. But that particular event, for me, set in stone the weight of this title. I particularly feel so lucky that I get to live in this country where people like the President and the First Lady do something like this to support the arts.

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Hi! Claire here with another blog post from my series “Poets on Poets” — this time, featuring National Student Poet Miles, who represents the West Coast region. 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. Each year, five National Student Poets are selected through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for a year of service as poetry ambassadors, each representing a different region of the country. This summer, Miles partnered with Write Around Portland to lead a poetry workshop for adults. He looks forward to attending Harvard University in the fall!

National Student Poet Miles reading in front of an audience.

National Student Poet Miles reading in front of an audience.

CL: (After getting those awkward “hellos” and “how have you been doing” questions out of the way…) So let’s start with some general questions!
MH: Great.

CL: What was the highlight of your year as a National Student Poet?
MH: Well, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in the first place, but my highlight would have to be the 2012 Dodge Poetry Festival. I was still doing some soul-searching about the honor, what it meant, and how it would affect me. (He pauses.) It was hard to own up to it, and I felt that I couldn’t own up to it. Dodge was the most overwhelming because I was surrounded by great poetic talents. I was talking to Terrance Hayes and asking him, “What am I doing here?” He responded, saying “you have talent,” to relax, and to trust in my talent and work. Read More

In front of the NYCPF2013 official banner on my way in to the festival!!

In front of the NYCPF 2013 official banner on my way in to the festival!!

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!

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