Poetry News

Kenny G and Friends to Read at the White House

By Harriet Staff

If the evening of May 11 finds you idly perambulating about the living room holding your cat, accompany yourselves with the live interweb stream of the annual “Evening of Poetry at the White House.” This year’s event, hosted by President and Mrs. Obama, will feature Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Common, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott, who will, as per the official release, “read, sing, and showcase the impact of poetry on American culture.” The President will make opening remarks at the event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. You can watch all of this, including what’s surely to be Kenny G and Billy Collins upending all natural logic by mere appearance together, at www.whitehouse.gov. Hopefully there’s a collaboration in store? What could this mean for the future of poetry? “Identity is up for grabs,” Kenny once wrote about demanding new responses from writers in the digital age. Imagine!

Earlier in the day, First Lady Michelle Obama will host a special workshop for hundreds of students from California to New York, where they will have the opportunity to work with and learn from many of the evening’s performers. Mrs. Obama and administration officials will deliver brief remarks at 2:00 p.m. ET to highlight a new study detailing the importance of arts education. This event will also be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov and students all over the country will be invited to watch the workshop.

Originally Published: May 5th, 2011