Monday, January 26, 2009

I thought maybe it was just me and Jon Stewart

Jon and I were in agreement that the "inaugural poem" was a pedestrian, mundane bit of instantly-forgettable fluff, suitable for lulling small children (and not a few adults) to sleep, but not good for much else. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that Jon and I aren't alone.

... it was no surprise to hear Alexander begin her poem today with a cliché ("Each day we go about our business"), before going on to tell the nation "I know there's something better down the road"; and pose the knotty question, "What if the mightiest word is ‘love'?"; and conclude with a classic instance of elegant variation: "on the brink, on the brim, on the cusp." The poem's argument was as hard to remember as its language; it dissolved at once into the circumambient solemnity. Alexander has reminded us of what Angelou's, Williams's, and even Robert Frost's inauguration poems already proved: that the poet's place is not on the platform but in the crowd ...

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