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Who Will Be the Inaugural Poet?
I am still ecstatic and so proud that this country has elected a world class leader. Everyday there is a new revelation of what this will mean for our nation. I know there has been a call put out for 1,000 poets to write an inaugural poem for President-Elect Obama, but only one will be there with him on the podium. Who will it be? President Clinton chose Maya Angelou, President Kennedy chose Robert Frost. This morning, I saw a picture of Obama with a copy of Derek Walcott's Collected Poems in his hands. I think Walcott would be a superb choice: an excellent poet and a man who has many nations running through his veins. Here is one of my favorite Walcott poems. See what you think. Love After Love by Derek Walcott The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

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that is a wonderful poem.

I love the story of Robert Frost's selected poem blowing away, or the sun was too bright for the old man to read.   And so, he had to chose  from memory "the gift outright," which was perfect and a much better poem in my mind.  None of the triumphalism of  "glory of a next Augustan age" of "Dedication," which he had written for the occasion.

IF you DARE, watch Chocolate News' sendup of composing innaugural poems.  



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Frost was faking - don't you think?

Hi Paul,

I've always believed that Frost knew exactly what he was doing by reading a superb poem at the inauguration rather than trying for something new, contrived for the occasion. Sun in his eyes, hmmm. It's an impossible task to write a poem for a presidential inauguration. I wrote and read a poem at a dear friend's wedding. It may be the hardest poem I have ever written, and certainly not the best. Still, if Obama asked me, I would start now and work day and night until Jan 20th. Looks like we are both Masachusetts born. Thanks for stopping by ~ Susan

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Obama's Poet

just found my way to your post susan. belated kudos on the TLS honor...
i am thrilled that his choice for tomorrow has thought enough of children to present a cycle of serious work for them.

i agree with your comments about frost, but we'll never know, eh?

hope you can write your thoughts about tomorrow's poem.

peace & change & hope

~ Jan