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Ten Poets from Los Angeles' "Get Lit / Words Ignite" Youth Group Sponsored by Buick Participate in Celebration of American Poetry

Inspired Students Recite Verses at Historic Sites as Accomplished Writers, Musicians, Artists and Youth Converge to Showcase the Impact of Poetry on American Culture

May 2011, Washington DC: In America,
it's all about the verse!

The President and Mrs. Obama hosted a celebration of American poetry and prose by welcoming accomplished poets, musicians, artists and students from across the country at the White House. Among the students invited to the White House were young members of the group Get Lit / Words Ignite from the Los Angeles area.

Get Lit, which was founded in 2005 in Los Angeles, is a leading non-profit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs. Get Lit has reached over 15,000 at-risk teens in more than 45 high schools, turning students into motivated scholars inspired to stay in school and thrive.

Get Lit Youth Meet America's Greatest Living Poets
The ten young poets of Get Lit enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with America's greatest living poets including Elizabeth Alexander, professor and Poet Laureate of the United States (2001-2003) Billy Collins, Pulitzer Prize winning poet and Poet Laureate of the United States (1993-1995) Rita Dove, and Kenneth Goldsmith. Also in attendance were poet/recording artist Common, performance artist Alison Knowles, recording artist Aimee Mann, recording artist Jill Scott, and actress/activist Kerry Washington.

The President welcomed the artists and students during his opening remarks in the East Room.

Get Lit Youth Inspired by Michelle Obama Speech
As the Get Lit youth looked on in admiration, Michelle Obama proclaimed her passion for poetry and writing - which she is passing on to her children Malia and Sasha. The First Lady hosted a daytime poetry workshop for hundreds of students.

Motivated Get Lit Poets Recite Verses at Historic Sites
Buick supplied two Enclave crossover sport utility vehicles to help transport the ten student Get Lit poets and founder Diane Luby Lane to the White House to experience an unforgettable day.

Motivated by the White House experience, the students continued their adventure in a whirlwind tour of inspirational sites including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Building and Supreme Court. They performed a mixture of classic and original poetry ranging from Robert Pinsky's "The Shirt to When I Grow Up," "Sekou tha Misfit." They paid homage to Langston Hughes with a visit to Busboys & Poets, the restaurant where the poet worked as busboy, and to Walt Whitman with a performance of Song of Myself in Walt Whitman Park

Get Lit Student Poets
Get Lit students who participated in the White House poetry events were: Aishah Allah, Bryan Erickson, Tayllor Johnson, Kelsey Cumiyo Kawana and Ka'Lynn Youngblood of Los Angeles; Raul Herrera Jr. and Anna Ye Osuna of Alhambra; Annika Jade Levy of Sherman Oaks; Daniel Schaefer of Studio City; and Jazmine Williams of Venice Beach.

More About Get Lit / Words Ignite
Get Lit uses the memorization and recitation of classic poetry as a launch pad for teen-created spoken word responses, fusing the two forms of expression into compelling performances, conducted by teens in school, after school, and through the organization's own select group of Get Lit Players. These poet ambassadors from throughout Los Angeles perform both classic and spoken word poetry, inspiring fellow teens to read, write, participate in the arts, and be leaders in their community

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