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National Student Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month

Want to motivate young poets? Need to freshen up your English-class reading list? Discuss the National Student Poets Program with students!

During their tenure as literary ambassadors, the second annual class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP) has been actively participating in readings and workshops across the country to share their work and amplify the youth voice in poetry. To celebrate National Poetry Month in April 2014, each of the five poets (at right, with First Lady Michelle Obama) has participated in a full calendar of events to inspire new audiences of all ages to embrace poetry and showcase the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success.  

The month of literary events marks a high point in their year of service, which began in September 2013, when they were awarded this nation’s highest honor for youth poets during a White House ceremony by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“This year’s National Student Poets are literary ambassadors to people across our country and around the world, and their work exemplifies the extraordinary outcomes that come from encouraging our youth to use their imaginations, be creative and pursue their passions,” said Honorary Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, First Lady Michelle Obama.

Since their appointment, the National Student Poets have reached a diverse group of audiences through events at locations ranging from the White House to military bases to teacher conferences to local libraries and more. For information about National Student Poet events celebrating National Poetry Month, visit the NSPP Web site.

The 2013 National Student Poets were selected (by a jury of literary luminaries and leaders in education and the arts) from among students in grades 9–11 who received national medals in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.


Classroom ideas

Have students browse National Award-winning art and writing works from the past few years. After the class votes on its favorite, assign the piece for class reading (in place of a work you typically cover in class).

Ask the following:

  • How/why does this work speak to you (inspire you, make you think differently or more deeply about an issue)?
  • How does it represent the youth voice?
  • Why is this voice important for the world to hear?
  • What devices, techniques or unique style does the author use?
  • What did you learn from this work that you might apply to your own writing?

 

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