I was one of the entranced jurors this year for the National Student Poets Program, jointly sponsored by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
Other jurors included Richard Blanco, President Obama's second Inaugural poet; Robert Casper, Head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress; poet Terrance Hayes; David Lynn, editor of The Kenyon Review; and Rose Styron, poet and longtime patron of the Academy of American Poets. All of us were asked to evaluate student submissions based on exceptional creativity, dedication to craft, and promise. We read the entries, poems by national medalists in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, in a spirit of great pleasure and excitement and then reviewed videos of the young poets speaking about their passion for poetry. At the celebration of the five who were chosen for this honor this year and who have been travelling as ambassadors for the art all around the country, I asked each of them to name a favorite poet or two and voilà, this feature!