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Common, Elizabeth Alexander headline White House 'Evening of Poetry,' to be streamed live Wednesday

May 11, 2011 |  7:40 am


Two-time Grammy Award-winning rapper Common and poet Elizabeth Alexander, whe read at President Obama's inauguration, will share the stage Wednesday night at the White House for "An Evening of Poetry."

If that seems like an odd match, the rest of the mix makes it even more interesting: poets Billy Collins, Rita Dove and Kenneth Goldsmith, musicians Aimee Mann and Jill Scott, and artist-performer Alison Knowles. If you're curious to see how those performers mix, you don't need an invite -- the event will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov. Things are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. EDT with opening remarks from Obama.

The evening's event will be preceded by a nationwide student workshop with many of the performers, hosted by Michelle Obama, which will include a discussion of the importance of arts education.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Common, left, in 2009 (credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times); Elizabeth Alexander (credit: Ron Edmonds / Associated Press).