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« Ken Tucker on the Inaugural Poem | Main | Best American Poetry 2008 Found Poem (Definitions) by Ming Holden »

January 20, 2009


I was appalled at the negativity of the comments, as well. Perhaps they were expecting something with "Nantucket" in it?

I quite liked the poem, actually. I was struck by the poetry in the various benedictions and prayers (from Bishop Robinson's on Sunday to Reverend Lowery's today), and also by the prayerful qualities of Alexander's poem, which seemed to me rife with religious imagery of a world on the cusp of being mended.

I just put up a post about all of the above at Velveteen Rabbi, and am quite curious to see whether or not my (religion-oriented) readers will find talk of the inaugural poem interesting...

Here's an interesting discussion of the poem from the NY Times "Opinionator" blog -

Thank you, LO. I wonder whether the rhymes (yellow /mellow, red man / ahead man) were lifted from James Weldon Johnson.

Here's another article from the Washington Post -

There's a link to the text of the poem, too.

I liked the poem more after reading it on the page. Perhaps the moment didn't allow for careful listening and reflection.

I agree with you Laura. She was in a tough spot. I watched the inauguration at work with a bunch of people and as soon as Obama concluded his speech, people started to talk and drift away and I imagine that is what happened in many places.

The reading of the poem was a bit herky jerky, but the poem itself was effective and dignified.

I especially liked - "In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun."

Is it possible that the frustration over the poem at EW mirrors the envy of conservative voters who don't think they can join in wholeheartedly with the joy felt by much of the rest of the country?

I was underwhelmed by the poem, but I did my own and tried hard but don't think I succeeded.

Readers might be interested in this Obama poem:

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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