Arts Post
Posted at 02:10 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Michelle Obama encourages young poets to be poetry ambassadors

Michelle Obama has joined the search for the next Billy Collins or Rita Dove.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH), whose honorary chair is First Lady Michelle Obama, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, are launching an new initiative around the work of student poets.
First Lady Michelle Obama (JEWEL SAMAD - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The National Student Poets Program, announced Monday, will select five high school poets to be poetry ambassadors for a year. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is the main partner for the new effort.

The finalists will be selected by the jurors of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the country’s oldest program for student achievement in the visual and literary arts. Previous winners in their teens were luminaries Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath.
The crowd at the National Book Festival last year (Photo by Megan Buerger/The Washington Post)

The poetry ambassadors will be selected from the Scholastic winners. The poets will participate in the Library of Congress National Book Festival in September 2012 and then spend a year reading and conducting workshops in their geographic regions.

The PCAH has been developing a series of programs that link the arts, humanities and schools. “As the data consistently shows, students who are engaged with the arts do better in school and in life,” said Rachel Goslins, PCAH executive director.

By  |  02:10 PM ET, 11/21/2011

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