12.17.2008

Elizabeth Alexander to compose, recite inaugural poem

Anyone know her work? She's professor of African-American Studies at Yale. I had been wondering who would be "Obama's poet." Here's a little background on her selection. She seems to have won plenty of prizes and honors, but after a quick scan of these poems on her Web site I'm a little underwhelmed. However, there's no accounting for taste, and she has to be a better choice than the one made for the invocation.

Robert Frost delivered the first inaugural poem in 1961, Miller Williams the last in 1997. Dubya, whose favorite poems are almost certainly limericks, dropped the idea -- one imagines him crinkling his nose and cracking frat-boy wise when the possibility was brought up in a meeting. For my money, this is the bar, set in 1993, that any inaugural poet needs to clear:

2 comments:

Pete said...

She was recently interviewed by the poetry foundation about "Obama's Poetics" for their podcast. She sounded really smart.

Grendel said...

More opinionizing about it.