April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

For National Poetry Month, Five Teen Poet Ambassadors Will Present their Works Across the Country


First Lady Michelle Obama with the National Student Poets award winners in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Sept. 20, 2013./This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

National Student Poet winner Michaela Coplen will read onstage at Lincoln Center on April 24 at the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind Gala hosted by the Academy of American Poets. Joining her will be notable guest readers Tina Fey, Patrick Stewart, and Meryl Streep.

Teen poetry ambassadors, like Coplen, from the second annual class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP)—part of the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards—have been actively participating in readings and workshops across the country to share their work and amplify the youth voice in poetry.

To celebrate April’s National Poetry Month, each of the five NSPP poets will participate in a full calendar of events that promote an appreciation of poetry and encourage youth to embark on their own creative journeys, embrace poetry, and showcase the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success.

The five NSPP poets are Sojourner Ahebee, Nathan Cummings, Michaela Coplen, Louis Lafair, and Aline Dolinh.

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

“[The National Student Poets’] 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 Michelle Obama.

The NSPP Class of 2013 will participate in the following April events:

  • April 4–5: Nathan Cummings, 18, Workshop/Presentation, Salt Lake City Public Library and Bryant Middle School, Salt Lake City, UT

Nathan will host an entire day celebrating poetry through media, Twitter, and poetry competitions at the main Salt Lake City library branch.

  • April 10–12: Michaela Coplen, 18, Presenter, Vermont State House, Montpelier, VT

Michaela will also visit Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility for women in South Burlington, lead workshops with local high schools, and read with Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

  • April 11–13: Louis Lafair, 18, Featured Scholar, Round Top Poetry Festival, Round Top, TX

Louis will be a Round Top Poetry Festival scholar at this annual event. He will read his work with other featured poets, including Jane Hirshfield and Gregory Orr, on Friday evening, April 11.

  • April 24: Aline Dolinh, 16, Featured Reader, Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Writers’ Day, Frankfort, KY

Aline will read and present at the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Writers’ Day in the Capitol Building in Frankfort with readings by poets such as Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s first poet laureate, Robert Penn Warren, a Kentucky native.

  • April 24–25: Sojourner Ahebee, 18, Ohio Center for the Book “Poem in your Pocket Day,” Cleveland, OH

Sojourner will participate in a day-long celebration of writing with workshops, readings, and activities at three Cleveland library branches, including the Carnegie West Library, the Main Library downtown, and the Langston Hughes Library.

  • April 24: Michaela Coplen, Featured Reader, Poetry & the Creative Mind Gala, New York, NY

Michaela will read onstage at Lincoln Center at the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind Gala, hosted by the Academy of American Poets, the nonprofit organization behind National Poetry Month. Other special guest readers will include Tina Fey, Patrick Stewart and Meryl Streep.

For up-to-date information about National Student Poet events celebrating National Poetry Month, please visit the NSPP website and follow them on Facebook.

Carolyn Sun About Carolyn Sun

Carolyn Sun was a news editor at School Library Journal. Find her on Twitter @CarolynSSun.