Reading & Literacy

White House Hosts Live Poetry Workshop Today, Reading Tonight

By Catherine Gewertz — May 11, 2011 1 min read
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As regular readers of this space know, I’m a poetry lover. And as lovers are wont to do, I will shamelessly proselytize for my cause. In that spirit, I’d like teachers to know about today’s poetry workshop for students and tonight’s poetry event, both Webcast live from the White House.

The workshop for students across the country begins at 2 p.m. EDT, and the poetry reading is at 7 p.m. EDT. You can watch them on the White House’s “live streams” page. (And in all honesty, the reading tonight will include both poetry and prose. But I get so excited when a poetry event gets anything resembling a high profile that I temporarily left out the prose part.) More information about the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities can be found here.

Among those reading tonight will be Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who read at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and former U.S. poets laureate Billy Collins and Rita Dove. Included are those who put their poetry to music: Aimee Mann, Jill Scott and Common (the last of whom came in for some derisive comments from Sarah Palin). Opening remarks will be given by President Obama.

Mrs. Obama will lead the daytime workshop, in which students will work with the artists, and their peers from around the country can watch.

This event isn’t the first at the Obama White House to feature poetry. Check out a 2009 event on YouTube. It was part of the Obama’s pledge to bring poets and musicians into “the people’s house.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.