Charlotte Innes is the author of “Reading Ruskin in Los Angeles” to be published by Finishing Line Press in May 2009.
1. What poet(s) should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?
Robert Hass, Environmentalist
Lewis Turco, Infrastructuralist
David St. John, Fashionista
Wendell Berry, Agriculturalist
Dana Gioia, Energy
2. If you could send Obama one poem or book of poems (not your own), what would it be and why?
“Time and Materials” by Robert Hass, especially the poems, “Bush’s War” and “State of the Planet,” that tell us everything we need to know about what is spoiled but also joyous about our poor old, messed-up world. Hass shows us what we lose when people commit crimes against humanity and the natural world. In “Bush’s War,” Hass quotes from one of my favorite Schubert lieder, after a poem by Goethe: “Warte nur, bald/Ruhest du auch.” Or in Hass’s words “Just wait/You will be quiet soon enough.” Perhaps “soon” should be underlined?