National Student Poets honored at Library of Congress

Michael Barrett  //  Sep 1, 2017

National Student Poets honored at Library of Congress

Yesterday, five teen poets were honored at the Library of Congress and met actor Alfre Woodward and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

In case you missed the ceremony, please watch the video from yesterday’s livestream:


These high school students were selected as the sixth annual class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP) — the nation’s highest honor for youth poets, presented in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Representing five geographical regions of the nation, the 2017 National Student Poets are:

  • Annie Castillo, age 16 of Falls Church, VA, junior at George Mason High School
  • Kinsale Hueston, age 17 of Corona del Mar, CA, senior at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
  • Ben Lee, age 16 of Edina, MN, junior at The Blake School
  • Juliet Lubwama, age 17 of Downingtown, PA, senior at Downingtown STEM Academy
  • Camila Sanmiguel, age 17 of Laredo, TX, senior at J.B. Alexander High School

The National Student Poets’ first reading of their original work was hosted today by Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, Director of the ILMS at the Library of Congress, as part of an appointment ceremony. Throughout the year, the poets will serve as literary ambassadors and will share their passion for poetry and the literary arts with their communities and at libraries and museums throughout their regions. This will be done through service projects, workshops, and public readings. In addition, each poet will receive a $5,000 academic award.

What’s coming up for the National Student Poets? They will attend several appointment events this weekend during the National Book Festival including public readings and attending a private workshop with 21st Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. In addition, they will travel to New York City this October to present at the Poets Forum, presented by the Academy of American Poets.

To stay up-to-date with the National Student Poets Program, visit their Facebook page and be sure to join in the conversation on Twitter using #5poets and #NSPP17!

Since its inception in 2011, the National Student Poets Program has showcased the essential role of writing and the arts in academic and personal success for audiences across the country. All 25 National Student Poets have participated in community service projects, visiting more than one hundred cities, performing at more than eighty national poetry events, and mentoring hundreds of future poets. The poets have traveled to libraries, museums, youth centers, reservations, and hospitals; worked with military-connected youth, rural youth, special-needs children and recent immigrants. They have performed their work numerous times at Lincoln Center and the White House, have been honored six years running at Carnegie Hall, have been invited to attend and present their work at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and have attended private workshops and master classes with renowned poets, including US Poets Laureate, and literary leaders.

Students in grades 10 and 11 who are interested in becoming National Student Poets can submit their work throughout the fall to the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the exclusive pathway to be considered for the National Student Poets Program. Deadlines for submissions vary by region. Next spring, the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Award National Medalists in poetry will be eligible for the program.


Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artist & Writers