Madeleine Le Cesne, a senior at Lusher Charter School, was appointed by First Lady Michelle Obama as one of the five National Student Poets, a poetry ambassadorship sponsored by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.
As a National Student Poet, Le Cesne will spent the rest of the year developing a community service project to promote poetry and arts education.
“Working with the National Student Poets Program, I realize I was doing a disservice to the art form by not sharing it with those who need it most, the people who don’t identify as poets,” says Le Cesne. “The National Student Poets Program has taught me to always give away my loves, talk about the things I’m crazy about, because we all have to discover our passions somehow, and I’d never want anyone to miss out on something they could truly love.”
Le Cesne would have never found poetry without her teacher Brad Richard, poet and director of the Creative Writing Certificate of Artistry Program at Lusher Charter School. She has been studying with this program for the past four years.
“Over the last four years,” says Le Cesne, “Richard made me realize writing and reading are as indispensable as the moon; they’re the only things we can do to place us both inside and outside ourselves all at once.”
This past fall Le Cesne attended the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey, with the National Student Poets program. She attended a panel of four other poets about the teaching of poetry in schools, attended readings and talks by rising and established poets and read her own work for an audience.
“Attending Dodge I had three of the best days ever, and it made me want to pop the bubble of this little world, let this love of poetry seep out and find others who need it,” says Le Cesne.
Le Cesne also volunteers at The New Orleans Historic Collection, where she works in the history galleries every Saturday. Le Cesne knows she’s going to college next fall, but hasn’t decided which school she will attend. She wants to get her MFA and Doctorate after finishing her undergraduate degree and would love to work for an independent poetry press or teach on the college level.