Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of Mulberry.
1. What poet should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?
Pindar. Press Secretary.
2. If you could send Obama one poem or book of poems (not your own), what would it be and why?
I think I might send along Dickinson’s “My life had stood—a loaded gun.” I don’t know why exactly. Inexactly, I think I have a guess as to why. The odd/awful power of that poem is that the speaker has no power of her own, but in order to gain meaning, must be put to use. She cannot put herself to use. It strikes me that being President might be a similar sort of situation. To take that oath is to load the chamber and wait in the corner (save the oval office has no corners?) At any rate, we’ve had leadership for 8 years that is a gun that pulls its own trigger. Perhaps a poem, too, can inaugurate a new model.