- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will celebrate American poetry and prose with a gathering of poets, musicians and artists at the White House next Wednesday night.

Professionals Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Common, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott will read, sing and highlight poetry’s influence on American culture.

The White House says the first lady will also hold an afternoon workshop for students from across the country so they can learn from some of the night’s performers.

In 2009, Mrs. Obama inaugurated a White House music series that has celebrated jazz, country, classical, Motown and Latin music. She has also arranged salutes to Broadway, the music of the civil rights movement and Judith Jamison, an Alvin Ailey dancer and artistic director.

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