Sunday, December 28, 2008

Poetry, Politics, Inaugurations

Elizabeth Alexander has been chosen to recite a poem at Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009.  She follows in the footsteps of Robert Frost (John F. Kennedy inauguration in 1961), James Dickey (Jimmy Carter inaugural gala in 1977), Maya Angelou (Bill Clinton inauguration in 1993), and Miller Williams (Bill Clinton inauguration in 1997).

Listen to Elizabeth Alexander speak about who she would have chosen to read at the Inauguration from "Inaugural Poetics" a broadcast from "Poetry Off the Shelf" with the Poetry Foundation (December 19, 2008).

Other Links:
Elizabeth Alexander's page from the Academy of American Poets (
Katharine Q. Seelye, "Poet Chosen for Inauguration Is Aiming for a Work That Transcends the Moment," New York Times (December 20, 2008).
Dwight Garner, "The Intersection of Poetry and Politics," New York Times (December 24, 2008).
Letters "Poets, Presidents and Inaugurations" New York Times (December 27, 2008).
Katharine Q. Seelye, "Inaugural Poet, Adorned," The Caucus, New York Times Politics Blog (January 1, 2009).
"Poetry and Power: Robert Frost's Inaugural Reading" (