From: Lesley Clark [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2015 4:16 PM
To: Velz, Peter; Allen, Jessica
Subject: WH pool report #4
President Obama celebrated National Poetry Month in the State Dining Room at the WH, hailing the art for its contributions to the world.
Introduced by young poet Madeleine LeCesne as a "former teen poet,"
Obama joked that the title was cool and that he Was going to recite some poetry, but "Michelle said 'no.' "
He said poetry "matters" and gives meaning to our lives.
If we didn't have poetry, this would be a pretty barren world, he said.
A good poem can make hard times easier to bear, and make good times "a little sweeter," he said.
He Noted there are parts of the world where poets are censured and silenced. But not in the U.S.
If you want to understand America, he said, you have to read some Walt Whitman or Langston Hughes.
Check transcript for full quotes.
Per the WH, "In celebration of National Poetry Month, the President and First Lady will host a student workshop and poetry reading featuring American poet, Elizabeth Alexander.
Elizabeth Alexander is the author of numerous collections of poems and essays, including “Praise Song for the Day,” which was composed and delivered at President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration. She is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. With the support of the President’s Council on Arts and Humanities, forty students from local-area schools will participate in a poetry workshop."
The pool was brought in post workshop and Obama delivered opening remarks before Elizabeth Alexander was to give a brief reading from her newly-released memoir “The Light of the World.” The First Lady was to deliver brief remarks at the conclusion of the reading.
Her mother, Marian Robinson, grabbed a seat in the audience before the program got started.
Also spotted in the audience, Andrea Mitchell.
Obama introduced Alexander, shook a few hands after his remarks and left the room.
White House Correspondent