Young poets honored at the White House

The American poet Carl Sandburg once said, “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”

Recently five young people were named to lead that dance for the next year. They are the National Student Poets, and they enjoyed a ceremony in their honor at the White House.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama created the program to recognize student poets from across the United States. About 70,000 young people apply to the program each year. A team of poets and artists chooses the winners.

Meet this year’s student poets:

Maya Salameh of California is Lebanese American. She read her poem “Sacrilege Incorporated” at the White House event. Maya said she wanted to write to express her feelings about being Arab American.

Maya Eashwaran of Georgia is Indian American. Her poem “Linguistics” is about losing some of her Indian identity to American culture. “I was writing the poem after I had realized that I was speaking more English than my mother tongue,” she said.

Stella Binion of Illinois said her dream is to work with and inspire other students, especially African-American girls, to make them “feel like their voices are important.”

Joey Reisberg of Maryland said he hopes to help develop poetry workshops in Baltimore to show that there is much more to Baltimore than the recent unrest. “The city isn’t as divided as it seems,” he said. “We’re all still people.”

Gopal Raman of Texas read from his original poem “August 23, 2005,” a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. “To see that one of the main leaders of our country cares so much for kids and the arts and our future, it was really inspiring,” he told the Dallas Morning News.