Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Morning Reading: Elizabeth Alexander: "are we not of interest to one another?"

Elizabeth Alexander has been chosen to compose a poem for the inauguration of Barack Obama.

She will deliver her poem during the proceedings on Tuesday.

I look forward to it.

Until then, here's one of hers to savor:

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)
digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?


Now, here's a link to a recent NPR interview with Alexander. She reads the poem above at the beginning and then a brief interview follows. To listen, click here.

(Hat tip to Robbi!)


Robbi said...

She read it on the PBS news a couple days ago. You should be able to find her reading it online somewhere.

Rebel Girl said...

Thanks, Robbi - I'm a bit out of the loop.

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