Obama promised on the campaign trail that if he was elected, he would throw the White House open to as wide a range of people as possible. Tonight is intended as part of that.But it is also because Obama is fond of poetry. He said on the campaign trail no one should graduate from university without having read poetry and has been spotted with a copy works from the Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott in his back pocket. The likeliest to attempt the question ‘What rhymes with Obama?’ is slam poet Mayda Del Valle, from his hometown Chicago, though she may have too much taste even to try. Also on the bill are hip-hop artist and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda and the finalists from a youth poetry competition, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio and Joshua Brandon Bennett.Other performers include: actor James Earl Jones, who provided the voice for Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy; jazz musician ELEW and Esperanza Spalding; novelist Michael Chabon, author of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union; and Ayelet Waldeman, author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.
Via White House Blog
Tonight, the President and the First Lady will host an evening celebrating poetry, music and the spoken word. This event is designed around the theme of dialogue, showing how dialogue is important in every aspect of who we are as Americans and as human beings, and demonstrating how communication is a constant throughout the ages. The hope is also that this evening’s gathering helps ensure that all voices are heard, particularly voices that are often not heard.