This week I was happy to hear from my friend Kristin Palm, a poet and teacher who works with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). Kristin is inviting writing teachers and writers who teach to join her in a project that involves writing and sending poems to Barack Obama in celebration of his inauguration. Anyone can join in. Kristin would love to hear from you if you and your students decide to participate.

Dear Writers and Teachers—

I am writing to invite you to participate in a national poem writing campaign, Letters to Obama. This project was inspired by poems written by students in Detroit, Michigan, as part of theInsideOut Literary Arts Project, an amazing organization where I used to work (I now work through California Poets in the Schools). The idea is simple and fun: Have your students write “Letters to Obama” poems around inauguration time. Then, add a twist or two:

  • Send the poems to the White House with a letter thanking President Obama for his support of the arts and arts education
  • Hold a student reading or arrange for a display of student poems
  • Or come up with other creative ideas to ensure that our young people’s messages to this historic president are read and heard!

If you would like to participate, I can provide you with a resource kit that contains:

  • Writing prompts
  • Model poems (below)
  • Sample letter to the White House
  • Sample press release
  • Publication/display ideas

If you would like me to email you a resource kit, please email me at[email protected]. Even if you don’t need a resource kit, I’d like to ask you to contact me if you plan to participate so I can know how far this project reaches; please include the name of your school, grade level, and number of students participating. Please feel free to spread this post far and wide—I’d like to get as many students to get involved as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kristin Palm

[email protected]


Advice to our Next President


Never start drama.
We voted for you because
we believe in you.
Don’t forget to not put
pressure on yourself.
Be sure to be ready
to be president. When
you answer the phone
you can say, This is
the Obama residence.
Are you going to be
ready for all of this?
Are you going to try
to be better than
those other cats?

By Dishuna, 4th grade, Detroit


Advice to the Next President


Always help the homeless.
Watch out for pointy hats.
Remember to share cucumbers.
Give the rich to the poor.
Keep your shoe out of your ear.
Follow your instincts.
Don’t help half of the world.
Help all of the world.
Don’t bail on us.
Stay strong.
Love the people.
Make this a new world.

By Talandra, 5th grade, Detroit

–posted by Robin Reagler, Writers in the Schools (WITS)

23 Responses to “Write a Poem for Barack Obama”

  1. Ashley Tyler

    Hey Obama, i guess this year’s gonna be cool with you being our president, just PLEASE don’t let the poor people go n e more poor than they already are. Well i gotta go, Im at school, the bell’s bout ta ring.

  2. Khaidji

    This is a great idea but are the poems going to reach the President-elect with any real certainty. I have written and devoted an entire book of poems to Barack, writing from his Primaries, through the General Election and my book, “Path To The White House” goes unnoticed by the President-elect. What is the secret to get readers to notice this historical book that was a day to day, play by play account of this incredible path.

    All the works are Acrostic Poetry in rhyme . Here is the poem that introduces the book.

    The Path To The White House

    This time last year I learnt of a Black
    Having enormous aspirations, his name was Barack
    Eyes were on him and what he brought
    People were believing the change that he taught
    Americans for the first time were ignoring race
    They were accepting the man and not the color of his face
    His promise is of hope and change and that we
    Together can revolutionize politics if he was the Nominee
    Obama had obstacles from the critic’s voices
    They tried everything to influence people’s choices
    Hillary competed with all that she knew
    Ever stone she turned and sink she threw
    World interest peaked and soon it was clear
    How many nations supported him, how many would cheer?
    It is incredible that there has been so many
    That backs Obama and his Candidacy
    Every opportunity to disparage and defame
    Had no effect on supporters who remained the same
    Obama brought an interest not for decades seen
    Unmatched number from voters as early as teen
    So I wrote this collection of acrostic poetry
    Every one written to commemorate this path in history

    My book of Acrostic Poetry can be previewed The Bajan Poetry Society’s Store Front

  3. Khaidji

    This is a great idea but are the poems going to reach the President-elect with any real certainty. I have written and devoted an entire book of poems to Barack, writing from his Primaries, through the General Election and my book, “Path To The White House” goes unnoticed by the President-elect. What is the secret to get readers to notice this historical book that was a day to day, play by play account of this incredible path.

    Here is one of the very first poems, sort of a brief introduction to Barack. Note the Acrostic down the left margin. In this case it is the same as the title

    Barack H Obama

    Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in the great U.S.A
    August 4th , 1961 on an inauspicious day
    Raised up with Maya his younger half-sister
    And from day one he was an adoring brother
    College took him to the Harvard Law Review
    Keen interest copped Presidency, his competitive debut
    His humility as true as his ability to organize
    Obama’s work with the community was charitable and wise
    But his greatest decision was to choose Michelle
    After dating a year they rung the wedding bell
    Malia and Natasha were the daughters from his spouse
    And together his family lays their Path to the White House

    My book of Acrostic Poetry can be previewed The Bajan Poetry Society’s Store Front

  4. Kate Mullikin

    Hello fellow teachers, students and writers. My name is Kate Mullikin and I am an 8th grade LA teacher from Shoreline Middle School of Santa Cruz CA. I have some amazing poems that 8th graders wrote directly after they watched the inauguration…

    Inauguration Day Poetry by Ms. Mullikin’s Class

    My mind burns with feeling
    Too deep for words to write
    Too strong for written words
    Too many emotions rushing about
    Too many feelings in turmoil.
    My mind runs and yet my feet cannot move.
    They are imprisoned by mental locks
    And hold me from expressing my great joy.

    Nate Sheibly –

    I feel more patriotic today
    I do have more respect for my country
    I honor our new president –
    Not because he is young,
    Not because he is black,
    But because he is our hope
    He promises to change our country
    I believe change will come.

    Michael Medina –

    Take the time
    It may be long
    All in all, we will be strong.
    Help us now
    In our time of need
    Learning how we can succeed.

    Kate Camp –

    Even though our nation’s story
    Is not all glory
    We still have pride in what we have today.
    Some of our history might be a mystery
    Built on fallen pieces that we must pick up

    Leni Vasquez –

    Overwhelmingly awesome!
    Best president ever!
    All his speeches are great!
    Making history today!
    Always has a smile on his face.

    Antonio Nunez –

    Obama is a “G”
    He runs our country.
    Made John McCain flee.
    The white house just gave him the key.
    He’s an inspiration to me!!

    Mezziah Overley-

    Today I feel our nation changing
    I hear people cheering
    For our new president
    Today I realize we can do something new
    Today I want to do something to protect our world
    And save it.
    Today I want to help our world.

    Carla Diaz –

    As we come into this new year
    We ask ourselves, “What will change?
    (or more important)
    Who will make the change?”
    As citizens of the USA we should
    Stand up to our mistakes
    And as a citizen I say
    We will change.

    Jake Rubens –

    When will our nation change? TODAY
    Where does the nation alter? Everywhere?
    Who does this nation belong to? Everybody!
    What does this signal? A new beginning!
    Why does this matter? It is our world!
    How does this affect us? In everyway!
    Who is this because of? Barack Obama
    Who was the inspiration? MLK

    Chad Oklin-Jolon

    Today was a truly great day!
    Obama won and my heart cried hooray!
    I almost cried. What an historic moment!
    Words came from our poet.
    Everyone was silent.
    His words touching everyone
    In such a way…

    Cristian Melgar

    So much music, so much cheer
    Now a nation without fear
    What a happy day!
    It brought tears to some
    What a relief, change has come!

    Matt Birt

    Lots of excitement
    No more fear,
    Lots of excitement,
    SO much cheer,
    OBAMA is in office!
    Time to end some wars,
    Pick up this economy
    And fight no more.

    Kyle Pittman

    Today I am proud of my country
    We have banded together to elect
    A revolutionary
    Today I hear the millions cheering
    From the smallest children to the growing masses
    Today I realize how lucky I am
    To be growing up in America-
    A country where change has come
    And there is hope for my future.
    Today I wish that all American people
    Would take up the daunting task
    Of bringing our country back to prosperity
    Today I vow to do my part,
    No matter how small,
    To bring more change to America.

    Saige Mariner –

  5. melanie espinal

    Create your words actions
    To better our nation

    Oh son of diverse nationalities
    Save us from our tragedies
    From economics to poverty
    Help us correct our stupidity

    Barack Obama, our president, our leader
    We pray you’ll make our lives easier
    Let the choir of hope sing
    And let freedom wring

  6. Suzanne Gili Post

    by: Suzanne Gili Post …

    Water The Seed

    A steady stream of longing
    filled the river of our discontent.
    It ran off the road with mock decisions
    and somehow we knew, we knew
    that so much was not right – not of our choosing.
    Thorny territories of betrayal;
    rudeness and arrogance gave way to systematic tortures.
    Ordered from a menu of power warped.
    Confrontations between friends and countries
    held the bleak monotone tread of false justification.
    The complexity of this tragedy weaved a landscape
    of fallen towers, broken levies, smoke, mirrors,
    ashes, bones, bombs
    and the fading echo of lamenting cries
    getting harder and harder to hear.
    And so, the complacent and cynical transfusion,
    so haphazardly pumped into our history,
    became oathless, and it seemed improbable
    that a better day would come.
    but Now, like the vision of our early Fathers,
    choice for a better day is at hand
    and a renewed declaration serves as a battle cry to rouse
    us from our consumer logged, apathetic binge.
    Finally, ideal truths are uniquely and undeniably out in the open.
    Slaves are not willing partners to slavery.
    Gays and Lesbians are not incomplete human beings.
    Women and children do not ask for rape.
    People trapped by genocide do not aspire to be forgotten. And
    our planet is not going to flourish as we continue to bully it.
    Indeed, at times, suffering is indulged upon us.
    And by some imperfect doing, atrocities fester,
    evolving somehow from an indifferent dimension.
    It is a sad fact …. Innocence is often stolen.
    Disaster happens, time and time again, throughout history –
    but as we bury the plagues, natural and otherwise,
    what are we really doing?
    Ultimately, it is in the hands of those who remain to decide.
    Those who also know that along with our regrets and rituals,
    not all not all is bound for burial.
    Life, like a single seed, tenacious and curious
    will take root even in a dark and narrow crevice …
    It holds on and gives us a chance to embrace our humanity,
    with the mysterious forces that are as old as time itself…
    Creativity, Recognition and above all Love.
    This imperfect experiment, this great nation,
    is not so because of one symbol, or one man or one woman,
    or because we can win wars and send rockets to the moon.
    But because of millions, perhaps billions of us know how to choose
    one man from another, one woman from another, which war to fight
    and what side of the moon to land on.
    It is the free and informed voice that demonstrates our brilliance.
    So, empty the house.
    Make room for a new maestro to conduct what Woody Guthrie
    imaged so completely for us….
    Indeed, this land is my land and this land is your land;
    But in order to remain entitled it,
    we can no longer afford to to sit by uninterested.
    We all need to get up, walk over to the well, and water the seed.

  7. Isabel

    President Barack Obama won I know hes about to change this world around…
    Welcome President Obama

  8. Whitney Harris...self created for my church black history program

    Thoughout History we’ve had many catalyst of change
    but some of our great black leaders were never acknolwedged their fame

    Martin Luther King and Vivien Thomas are examples
    Though the hardship and tough times in which they’d been trampled

    My grandmother always told me how bad things were in the past,
    on voting day i got to the polls i didn’t care how slow or fast

    in line I let ladies like her in front of me
    letting them come first to the President that promised the Change we Need

    Many may think that it’s the color of his skin, not the content of his character
    but that’s not the reason I boast about Our nations black caretaker

    and It’s one thing that makes me laugh and even has me crying
    not the color but For the first time in history our President is Hawaiian

    I’m glad to see the change , he always told us YES WE CAN
    And knew God had blessed us and included us in his plan

    Some hoped and didn’t stop dreaming
    and that didn’t end at the twilights last gleaming

    So This black history month you have something else beaming from ear to ear
    For the times far from now and those that are near

  9. Tamiya Simpson

    dear obama, im so glad your the first black president of the u.s because this world need a change and i believe u r the who can make this chang and that we can belive in it. But most of all im so glad when u bring the troops home because my daddy is in the army in iraq. So will u braing the troops home saftly and alive. My daddy have been in the war 4 three whole years. so please make this change and bring the troops home!!!!!!My name is tamiya simpson and i am in the fifth grade at goodman picken elementry school in goodman, mississippi.

  10. Doreen Van Lee

    You Can’t Win A Race

    World famous runners will tell you the first rule of
    Which is you can’t win a race if you’re looking back.
    You can ‘t win a race if you are not focused and
    You certainly can’t get to Heaven if you continue to sin.
    You can’t win a race if you don’t sweep around you own front door,
    You can’t win a race if you are always finger pointing and taking score.
    Just take a note from President Obama’s 2008 campaign,
    You will see that he never looked back and refrained,
    From dousing his opponents with equal doses of venom,
    He just relied on the intelligence and talent within
    He didn’t wince when they called him a rock star and
    That is why they have been calling him commander in
    chief ever since!
    He didn’t stumble when nay sayers questioned his vital statiistics,
    He promptly produced them just as he does with pertinent logistics.
    So, I say to you can’t win a race by playing the race card,
    You can’t win a race by being a cartoon drawing
    My friends if you have learned anything today:
    It is that you certainly can’t win a race if you are
    looking back,
    World class runners will tell you that it’s the
    first rule of track.



  12. Carlos

    Barack Obama

    A man with a vision
    A man with great hope
    In times of division
    He climbed the steep slope.

    Like Moses in his time
    Justice is his prime
    A man of great hope
    He wants all races to unite and to cope.

    His time has arrived, his destiny is here
    For a smart man like him to persevere
    And to lead that great nation
    Lead away from the greed, hate, and oppression.

    Like great leaders before him
    Martin Luther King and others like him
    They died for confronting the hate and the sin
    For justice and peace they had been.

    These men are the Heroes
    Who confront all the Nero’s
    Time and again
    They all fought for justice and freedom to reign.

    With great fervour he pushed ahead
    “Yes we can” were the words he said
    Wining hearts, minds, and all the debates
    To become the president of the United States

    Barack Obama stood his ground
    Crossing the barriers for those who were bound
    To defeat the great giant
    Which hate is so defiant.

    The Goliath of inequality, racism and hate
    This is the obstacle for people to relate
    Change and hope has come to America at last
    Change and hope for people of all class.

  13. Justice Samuel

    Just when all hope has gone,
    1 person brought it back,
    Now he is a answered prayer,
    1 person may change the world and all that,

    But the whole world of hope will get it done quicker,
    More to live life and clear the hate,
    Less time to get in a strong debate,
    He asked for this friendly request,

    Lets show this man why USA is the best,
    Why he wants to represent us,
    Why he chose to be president,
    Lets show Barack Obama that we can ACE this test,

    Taken the footsteps of DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR
    However, making more footprints,
    How far will YOU go

  14. Tom Zart


    Will we battle terrorism, as it should be fought
    Or run away and let evil doers chase us to our door?
    Will we protect our freedom and system of life
    As our fathers and grandfathers sacrificed before?

    Will we secure our borders against illegal entry
    Or let our economy and security be destroyed?
    Will we finally stop runaway wasteful spending
    By leaders who are self-serving and void?

    Will we continue to pledge our help to the less fortunate
    Who suffer from war, hunger and disease?
    Will we preserve our heritage and our future
    From those who wish to bring liberty to its knees?

    Never be afraid to be proud of America
    And march with the thankful, honorable and just.
    Never surrender our freedom of choice
    Standing firm for what we believe and trust.

    By Soldier For The Lord
    Tom Zart
    Most Published Poet
    On The Web

    You can hear all of Tom Zart’s 350 poems
    of love, war, faith and more 24-7 on web radio at

    Tom Zart ARCHIVES:

    Forums-War Poet Tom Zart : Veterans Today – News for U.S. Military …

  15. clara

    I would like to send a message to Mr. Obama, First I still feel it is an honor to have a president in color, black and free like me. This is the differnce I truly see. I believe in your words that it’s time for change, and over time others will feel the same. My mother would have been proud to see you standing there but she passed away before the miricle came.Mr. President you will always have my vote, you and your family are blessed. I’m glad I was here alive to see it, I must profess you are the best, keep up the good work that god lets you do, cause we as a people are gonna be behind you!!!!!!!

  16. Judy Konos


    I have very few friends since I stood up for you,
    because I believe in the things that you do!
    I feel the justice you’re determined to bring
    And you never exclude, not one living thing!

    When I walk through my halls and glance at the walls,
    Your photo assures me you’re there,
    As you look down and smile like a frolicsome child
    I know that you really do care!

    You’re my feeling of happiness that comes from within
    The first time I heard you …I knew you were friend
    You are the very best President America has had
    And far more important, you’re such a great dad!

    May God keep you safe tucked under his wing
    and continue to guide you to do the right thing
    Just know that we “feel” your struggles each day
    And if you need help,I’ll be right on my way!

  17. Chieanna

    Barack Obama
    Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr.’s son.
    Received NAACP award and Chairman’s award.
    August 4th is when he was born.
    Claimed Democratic nomination for U.S. president.
    Kind father to Malia and Natasha.

    Occidental College in L.A.
    Barry was his childhood name.
    Admired by many near and far.
    Michelle Obama is his wife.
    And he believes “Yes We Can!”
    And yes he did!

  18. C. William Clarke

    Yes We Will by Flowetic Justice

    This is a pivotal time in our history

    the country hangs in the balance

    the scales of equality teeter back and forth

    and the hands of the people strive to reach a level

    where this elusive plateau can be touched

    there is so much at stake

    for a land that is so great

    the fate that can be held

    in the palm of the voting hand

    each woman and man must demand

    that their voice and their choice be heard

    for there are those who do not see us as equal

    but divided do to our economic state

    our upbringing and the color of our skin

    those who still whisper silent words of old

    segregation and hate masked on the winds of sin

    the president who has done so much for us all

    knowing that he would be opposed at every turn

    still strove to correct the mistakes

    left in the wake of the last leader

    while others pretend

    he accomplished nothing as of late

    that each mighty step he took

    was either one in reverse of just too small

    I hear the words that are left stuck in my throat

    and imbedded in my brain

    on the many news channels

    though they are rarely the same

    the many secret quotes and notes

    from the one who desires now

    to be commander in chief

    left us all disgusted and in disbelief

    those of us who fall in that dreaded 47%

    and could never fathom the thousands spent

    for a plate to hear this stale rhetoric

    captured only this past May

    while others seek to berate the present President

    for comments made over a decade ago

    wishing he would simply go and fade away

    we the people

    have the power to decide the outcome this fall

    for we must raise our heads

    and see that there is hope

    and realize so much can be d accomplished

    with a single vote


    that there is an inherent threat to woman’s rights

    for we know

    that the decisions made on their bodies

    are theirs alone

    know that those entering college

    deserve the chance

    to achieve their degrees and goals

    know that our elderly deserve our respect

    and that no one deserves to be left out in the cold

    four years ago

    there was the national wide chant of “yes we can”

    and those words still fill our spirits

    with that burning desire and justified thrill

    but we must change that view now

    for there are many spoons stirring the social stew

    that want to return to the days of old

    rather than receive ingredients fresh and new

    so it is up to us

    every woman and man to unite and join hands

    and keep those negative billion dollar voices

    quiet, stifled, humbled, and still

    for this time around there can be no doubt

    so we must all stand and shout three new words

    for when asked can we make a difference

    in out countries future

    this election we can no longer say yes we can

    but scream for the tallest building

    “Yes We Can !”

    Thoughts of a Single Man 2012 tm

  19. Isidoro Rivera Caravantes

    Hello this is veronica Rivera Orellana and I was saying that I made póster project about you and my teacher said that she love the way. I wrote and she gave me a 100%.

    Thank you so much with you poem. .

    Veronica Rivera Orellana


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