Well, I’m excited about next week’s inauguration. How about you?
In celebration of poetry’s return to a presidential inauguration—this is the first time that poetry will be featured at the ceremony since Bill Clinton’s second swearing-in back in 1997—I’m featuring a poem by Elizabeth Alexander today. Alexander, Obama’s choice as the inaugural poet, is also an essayist, playwright, and teacher, born in New York City and raised in Washington, D.C. She has published five books of poetry and currently teaches in the Department of African American Studies at Yale University. As you can read here, she’s “completely thrilled and deeply, deeply honored” to have been chosen.
“…Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there…”
That’s from Alexander’s “Ars Poetica #100: I Believe,” and the full version can be found here at her site. Also of interest: Alexander’s “The female seer will burn upon this pyre,” archived over at The Poetry Foundation.
Lastly, this is well-worth your time: The Poetry Foundation’s 11/25/08 episode of Poetry Off the Shelf discusses “poets in the age of Obama,” or “how the Derek Walcott-toting, June Jordan-quoting president will affect poets and poetry.” For approximately nine minutes (audio only), Curtis Fox discusses with Ms. Alexander how Obama will affect not only our current intellectual culture, but the world of poetry as well. Here’s the link.
As of Thursday night, I’m not sure who’s hosting the Poetry Friday round-up, but we’ll get it straight soon enough, I’m sure.
Friday-morning update: The round-up will be hosted by Karen Edmisten over at her blog with “the shockingly clever title.” Thanks for rounding-up, Karen!
Jone has some more thoughts on Ms. Alexander over at Check It Out.