Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Poetry, Emotion

Entertainment Weekly asks what you thought of Elizabeth Alexander's poem this morning. The first comment (at least the first one I read - EW has an annoying policy to run comments in reverse chron order, so the newest appears on top, thus clearly illustrating their comments are just there 'cause you're supposed to have comments, not to encourage discussion) was full of ignorance and stupidity, so maybe it's not the best forum for the question.

I liked her poem. A lot. I agree that the wander into gooey land with "What if the mightiest word is love," wasn't my favorite bit - but probably because I (along with too many today) embrace irony too willingly to appreciate sincerity - regardless of the sincerity of the day.

The steady beat of lines, however, worked for me. Maybe because the simple structure made me think of my own declarative-sentence heavy tribute to an inaugural event.

I can't imagine, however, the pressure one must feel when directed to compose a poem period, let alone this sort of poem, for this event, for this man, at this moment in time.

I loved, however, that poetry and classical music were part of the day's ceremony. I'd like our country to return to openly embracing the finer arts and higher pursuits of life, rather than mocking and eschewing in favor of "regular folk" semantics that present a particularly distasteful depiction of Potemkin village life for average, plain Americans. Which don't exist. We are all surely more interesting than we've been encouraged to be over the last eight years. I hope.


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