First Family Hosts ‘Poetry Jam’ at White House

BY Arts Desk  May 14, 2009 at 5:04 PM EST

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama welcomed actors, poets and writers to the East Room of the White House for a night of poetry readings and spoken word. Performers included Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon and actor James Earl Jones, who read a passage from “Othello.”

“I have wanted to do this from Day One, the notion of standing in this room and hearing some poetry,” said Mrs. Obama. It’s no secret that President Obama is a fan of poetry. He was spotted reading some shortly after winning the election and included a poet at his inaugration ceremony.

The “poetry jam” was streamed live on the White House Web site and is due to be broadcast on HBO. Here’s Joshua Bennett performing his work at the White House; footage courtesy of HBO: