American's student poets on a mission during National Poetry Month
You couldn’t imagine it happening in Downing Street – or maybe we just haven’t heard about it. But when five US youngsters were named National Student Poets last year, America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, did the honours.
During the ceremony, Mrs Obama gave the students an assignment - to take part in a year of community service and to share their gifts with the community. During National Poetry Month the National Student Poets are doing exactly that. For instance, De’John Hardges has presented hip-hop workshops in Cleveland, Ohio, while David Xiang travelled to Oklahoma, where, with Jason Poudrier, a military veteran and a poet, he has been conducting workshops and readings with local veterans’ centres and in schools where the students are children of military families.
Chasity Hale was invited to read and participate in a writing workshop in Georgia, at the Ralph M Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. Eileen Huang was due to go on a library tour in New Hampshire, and give a special guest reading at New York’s Lincoln Centre, while Anna Lance was heading to Montana for a two-city poetry tour, including readings, workshops, and high school visits.
As part of the National Student Poets Programme, each year the young poets act as youth poetry ambassadors, through community service projects, National Poetry Month readings and workshops, and conferences, galas, and festivals.