Year of Service

Each year, the National Student Poets act as youth poetry ambassadors, spreading poetry to new communities through their community service projects, April Poetry Month readings and workshops, and a variety of other opportunities, such as national poetry conferences, galas, and festivals.

To book a National Student Poet or request an appearance, all you have to do is fill out the Appearance Request Form.

The National Student Poets, Class of 2015, attended the Academy of American Poets’ Poets Forum with U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, in October, 2015.

National Poetry Month Events

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, each National Student Poet will participate in a poetry event within their region to promote reading, writing, and the appreciation of poetry.

Class of 2015

Chasity Hale (Southwest) was invited to read and participate in the advanced writing workshop, Block by Block, in Georgia, at the Ralph M. Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. She also visited numerous Savannah public schools conducting poetry workshops with students in grades 6 through 12.

De’John Hardges (Midwest) partnered with the Ohio Center for the Book to conduct hip hop workshops and readings at the Cleveland Public Library. These workshops focused on building a sense of community, about which he is incredibly passionate.

On April 9, Eileen Huang (Northeast) was an official speaker at Tedxnavesink. She then conducted a library tour in New Hampshire, a new site for the National Student Poets Program. On April 27, Eileen was a featured reader at the 14th annual Poetry & the Creative Mind Gala at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Anna Lance (West) headed to Montana in April for a two-city poetry tour of Missoula and Billings. Her events will include readings, workshops, and high school visits. Her partners will be Second Wind; Flathead Reservation; Arts Without Boundaries; Celebration of the Arts; and numerous local high schools.

David Xiang (Southwest) traveled to Oklahoma, where he worked with Jason Poudrier, a veteran and a poet, to conduct workshops and readings with local veterans’ centers and in schools where the students are children of military families.

Class of 2014

Read our blog for a full summary of the Class of 2014’s experiences during National Poetry Month in April, 2015.

Class of 2013

Read our blog for a full summary of the Class of 2013’s experiences during National Poetry Month in April, 2014.

Community Service Projects

As part of their year of service, each National Student Poet creates, plans, and executes a community service project to expand the reach of the Program and its engagement with audiences in each region. These projects often include readings, workshops, webinars, classroom visits, interviews, and conversations with established poets.

Past community service projects include workshops with military families, Alzheimer’s patients, ESOL students, homeless youth, patients at a children’s hospital, and Native American students. They run the gamut and authentically reflect the individual National Student Poets’ passions for community and change.

The Class of 2015 has already begun to implement their community service projects. Their projects will focus on: intersectionality; Cleveland youth and community at Cleveland libraries; STEM education and poetry; young girls; and veterans with PTSD.

The Class of 2014 crafted, refined, and implemented their community service projects since after appointment in September of 2014. Their service projects focused on: teenage boys and their relationship with poetry; the Native American community; LGBT youth; displaced persons; and the tragedy in Newtown, CT.

“When I received the opportunity to become a poetry ambassador for a year, I knew right away that I wanted to work with Alzheimer’s patients via poetry.”—Sojourner Ahebee, Class of 2013. To honor her grandmother’s legacy, Sojourner created lasting poetic works immortalizing her workshop students.

“My service project this year extended far beyond what I had originally anticipated—and it still has further yet to go.”—Michaela Coplen, Class of 2013. Reflecting on her own experience with parents in the service, Michaela worked with army families.

Additional Events and Year of Service Opportunities

The National Student Poets make appearances throughout their year of service, as well as attending poets forums, readings, workshops, and other incredible opportunities afforded to them as the nation’s youth poetry ambassadors.

In October of 2015, the Class of 2015 National Student Poets met with Hamilton star Daveed Diggs for a private poetry workshop, then joined him for a backstage tour of the Richard Rodgers Theatre. They were also special guests at the Academy of American Poets’ Poets Forum, where they performed a collaborative poem for the Academy Chancellors, including U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

In October of 2014, the Class of 2014 National Student Poets were featured readers at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ. While they were together on the same coast, they attended a workshop led by Edward Hirsch at the Guggenheim Foundation, where they passionately discussed, read, and shared new work. They also spent an incredible evening at Scholastic Inc., participating in a workshop conducted by acclaimed novelist Colum McCann and the nonprofit story exchange program, Narrative 4.

The Class of 2013 had their poetry read on stage at Carnegie Hall by Academy Award-winning actor, David Strathairn, participated in the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, and attended the Academy of American Poets’ Poets Forum.

Many of the poets have participated or will participate in state Poetry Out Loud competitions as judges and will attend the competitions’ award ceremonies as guests, readers, and workshop leaders. Each year, the new class of National Student Poets caps off their year of service by attending the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Ceremony events in NYC.

The opportunities for the National Student Poets are unparalleled and unending. Madeleine LeCesne, Class of 2014, said of her experience at the Dodge Poetry Festival, “This is the best day of my life.” And that was only her second month as a National Student Poet!

To keep up with the National Student Poets, like the official Facebook page.