Change Your World-NOT your Body

Monday, January 26, 2009

Can someone please tell me why...

Can someone please tell me why America has a poet laureate?

http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/01/20/adam-kirsch-on-elizabeth-alexander-s-bureaucratic-verse.aspx

Reading this article accompanied with my morning coffee, I am angered once again at Obama/the Obama team's choice for inaugural poet. I feel there are three primary reasons for Elizabeth Alexander being chosen. 1) good old fashioned nepotism (her brother was a senior adviser to Obama's presidential campaign as well as an adviser to Obama's "transition team")
2) she's african-american 3) she is physically acceptable to white america AS an african american; she is a very light skinned, intelligent, reasonably attractive feminine woman.

There have only been three other american inaugural poets: Robert Frost who while not poet laureate at the time of being the inaugural poet had previously been a poet laureate and was greatly known and loved by americans. Maya Angelou who while not light skinned, nor particularly attractive, nor a current or previous poet laureate at the time was still chosen by Clinton as his first inaugural poet. Likely because she is highly intelligent, highly talented but mostly well known to black america whom Clinton was trying to appeal to (in other words a pawn). And Clinton's second inaugural poet Miller Williams was another nepotism choice. Williams being a good old boy from Clinton's home state and as this was his last term in office Clinton didnt have to appeal to any particular group.

So other than Frost you might ask "Dirt the other two inaugural poetic choices werent poet laureates why are you getting your nose all outta joint"? Lets set Williams aside since the only reason he was among these elect few inaugural poets is because Clinton having had an inaugural poet his first term was simply following through with his second.

And my nose was and has remained a bit outta joint with Clinton's first inaugural choice in a poet with Angelou because at the time Rita Dove would easily had fulfilled her (and Clinton's) role as poet laureate had Clinton chose her instead of Angelou. In fact I feel she would have made a much better choice, it was within her job requirements (and talent) as poet laureate at the time she was also a Pulitzer Prize winning poet (only one of two african americans), something Angelou has yet to accomplish. But hey Rita hasnt been a frequent guest on Oprah now has she!

As to my anger over Obama's inaugural choice for poet? We (america) have a highly skilled and capable poet laureate currently in Kay Ryan, a much much better poet than Elizabeth Alexander. (not just my opinion, FACT) And with Kay Ryan, Obama had a chance to make the kind of difference we helped him achieve as the first black male president of the United States of America.

He could have chosen the woman who was chosen for the position (poet laureate) that is designed for just such an occasion (an inaugural poem). Who better to create a poem for America than the poet laureate OF America??? A position Ryan was chosen for because she speaks to America for America by an American! What could be more presidential than that I ask you???

Well I dont know what could be more, but I do intimately know what could be less. When you are a woman in any country, born of any race, practicing any religion and you look like this:


dirt
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1 comment:

  1. An hour
    of city holds maybe
    a minute of these
    remnants of a time
    when silence reigned,
    compact and dangerous
    as a shark.
    - Kay Ryan

    ReplyDelete

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