In celebration of National Poetry Month, President Obama and the first lady hosted a poetry reading at the White House Friday afternoon featuring poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander (not to mention a quick offering by poet Mark Knoller).

The president himself was introduced as a “former teen poet” and recommended that Americans wanting to better understand their country read the works of Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman — perhaps helping to explain why President Bill Clinton gave Monica Lewinsky a copy of “Leaves of Grass,” among other things.

Not surprisingly, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is a Whitman fan as well, recently tweeting this selection.

Ben Shapiro suggests that there’s something even more important than the poetry of Walt Whitman to the American heritage.