17 December 2008

Inaugural Poet Elizabeth Alexander

Dear President-Elect Obama:

Today's choice of Elizabeth Alexander as Inaugural Poet shows not only great poetic taste, but also that you read my blog as well Thank you, sir, I'm honored...(okay so I had Patricia Smith for Poet and Elizabeth for NEA Chair, but, still...).

And, uh, in case you were wondering, yes, I am available to join your team as either White House Poet in Residence, or IT Librarian of Congress....either/or, sir, not a problem: I'd love to say (a la The West Wing) "I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States"...

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

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.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?

Elzabeth Alexander

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