TITLE: Poet Robert Hass Hosts River of Words Ceremony
SPEAKER: Robert Hass
EVENT DATE: 05/15/2007
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, returned to the Library of Congress to moderate a program honoring the student winners of the annual River of Words environmental poetry and art contest.
Young poets and artists, in kindergarten through grade 12, read their poems, displayed their winning works of art and talked with Hass about their work. Linda Cover of Watsonsville, Calif., the 2007 River of Words Teacher of the Year, also received an award.
The ceremony, which honors winners and their families, included award presentations in six categories:
International Award: Javish Mutembei, 19, Nairobi, Kenya;
Poetry Grand Prizes: Jose Perez, 7, Sarasota, Fla; Shyann Graham, 11, Lancaster, Pa.; Maddy Johnson, 14, Bar Harbor, Maine; Billy Creed, 18, Baton Rouge, La.;
Art Grand Prizes: Jakob Langholz, 8, Royal Oaks, Calif.; David Kwok, 8, Westmont, Ill.; Edward Yang, 14, Westmont, Ill.; Loren Kim, 15, Fairfax Station, Va.;
Monkey's Raincoat Haiku Prize: Ashley Lopez, 10, Paramount, Calif.;
Shasta Bioregion Prize: (honoring a San Francisco area student): Rachael Kim, 16, Saratoga, Calif.;
Anacostia Watershed Prize: (honoring a Washington, D.C., area student): Olivia Coleman, 12, Bowie, Md.
Hass and writer Pamela Michael co-founded River of Words to promote literacy, the arts and environmental awareness. Hass has said, "It's thrilling to see, year after year, these young writers and artists giving us back the places where we live through their words and images. Through their explorations and reflection on their homegrounds, we are all made more aware of the beauty, history and fragility of our natural landscapes."
Speaker Biography: Robert Hass was named U.S. Poet Laureate by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in 1995 and served two terms. In April 1996, he organized a week-long conference at the Library on "Watershed: Writers, Nature and Community," where the first River of Words winners were honored. River of Words is now the largest youth poetry competition in the world.