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National Student Poets Celebrate Poetry Month Across The United States

NEW YORK, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when the arts in schools are being cut across the nation, America's inaugural class of National Student Poets, five teenagers who serve as literary ambassadors for poetry, are spending the month of April spreading the word about their craft. During Poetry Month, each young poet will visit diverse communities across the United States to host workshops and participate in events that encourage other young people, interested adults, and educators to see poetry as a dynamic and thriving literary form.

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"Through reading and writing poetry, young people learn to be creative, think critically, and broaden their horizons – and those lessons will stay with them for the rest of their lives," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "I am proud of these five young people, not only for working hard and expressing themselves so beautifully, but also for challenging the rest of us to see the world in new ways as well."

The National Student Poets are Luisa Banchoff, age 17, of Arlington, VA; Miles Hewitt, age 18, of Vancouver, WA; Claire Lee, age 16, of New York, NY; Natalie Richardson, age 17, of Oak Park, IL; and Lylla Younes, age 17, of Alexandria, LA. They were selected by a renowned panel of jurors in 2012 from a pool of outstanding writers, grades 9-11, who received a national Scholastic Art & Writing Award for poetry through the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The National Student Poets Program is the nation's highest honor for youth poets and a signature initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Alliance.

Each of the National Student Poets' events and community service projects recognize the power of young writers to impart new skills, inspire their peers, and engage others in the appreciation of poetry:

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