Obamas to Host First Ever White House Poetry Slam

Event fulfills campaign pledge to open up 'people's house'

By ANDREW GREINER
|  Tuesday, May 12, 2009  |  Updated 7:00 AM EDT
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The Obama Presidency in Photos

Barack Obama, himself a best selling author, will host a group of poets, musicians and actors at the first ever White House Poetry Slam.

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What rhymes with Obama? We could find out when the First Family hosts the first-ever White House Poetry Slam Tuesday evening.

While it might be bad form to, say, note that Barack Obama is cooler than the Dalai Lama and knows politics better than your mama, the event has some serious literary folks waxing poetic.

“It’s an incredible honor any time to receive an invitation from the White House and President Obama,” said Arizona Rep. Krysten Sinema, who is among the 100 people invited to attend the event. “But to see our nation’s talent and be a part of history at the first-ever White House Poetry Slam is amazing. I’m very excited to be a part of this moment.”

The performer’s list for the hip event includes James Earl Jones; poet Mayda Del Valle, novelist Michael Chabon, jazz musicians ELEW and Esperanza Spalding and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The poetry slam is actually an Obama campaign promise coming to fruition. Last year, Obama announced that he and First Lady Michelle Obama intended to bring poets and musicians into the White House to “open up the White House and remind people this is the people’s house.”

The Obamas have already hosted a number of cultural events at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, including concerts by Fergie, Stevie Wonder, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Earth Wind & Fire.

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