The first lady said she turned to poetry to find joy in other people’s words at times, including when she was awake with worry or when she was feeling lost.
“In the words of others,” she said, “I found my own features of joy.” “I have found a place to cast off my fears. I have found a compass that leads me through the darkest of the woods. And on the page, I find myself tangled in hurried lines, in specks of ink.”
“So it’s really nice to be able to welcome the 2022 National Student Poets,” she said as the five high school poets sat behind her on high chairs.
In the state dining room, books and collectibles are stacked on the mantelpiece below a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. A sandwich panel announced a poetry reading at 4:30 p.m. Votive candles flickered at round tables as about 60 guests sat at their seats.
Ada Lemon, Twenty-fourth US Laureate PoetEach student is invited to read their winning works. Biden congratulated the students after the reading and hugged each of them.
“We don’t just celebrate poetry,” Lemon said. “We celebrate the future of poetry.”
The National Student Poets for 2022 and their schools are:
—Vidhatrie Keetha, Horace Mann School, Bronx, New York.
—Emily Egwick, University of Milwaukee School District, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
—Winslow Hastie Jr. , Charleston County School of Art, North Charleston, South Carolina.
—Jesse Begay, New Mexico School of the Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
—Diane Sun, Interlake High School Bellevue, Washington.
Biden also marked the 10th anniversary of this year’s National Student Poets Program, which was created in 2012 to highlight the role of writing and the arts in the academic and personal success of communities across the country, the White House said.
It is the nation’s highest honor for young poets who present their original works. Graduates of the last decade attended Tuesday’s event.
The program selects and awards scholarships annually to five student poets—one from each of the five U.S. geographic regions—to serve as literary ambassadors in their communities.
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