Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Praise Song For the Day" by Elizabeth Alexander : Inauguration poem

It may not survive in full in edited highlights of Barack Obama's inauguration, but Elizabeth Alexander's poem was, to me, outstanding - with the simplicity and complexity of the best writing.  Here it is, in case you missed it.

I've removed the text of the poem, so go to this link to see it in print in a location on the net where it has the poet's permission to be.

Added later: see a video and read reactions to this poem here. Added even later: I've put in the YouTube link. I know not everyone will agree with the poem, or the declamatory style, but I was more than happy with both. Poetry is compressed language, rich with meaning, above all, and this was a poem.

Added later still: I've found a version that is set out as Elizabeth Alexander said she wrote it, in tercets.  Source of this info.  Here's a thoughtful critical analysis of it as a poem from the Guardian (UK) and a more critical review from the Times (UK).



ozjane said...

I distinctly remember Myra Angelou and her poem at the last inauguration.
I enjoy Myra Angelou's writings but I prefer this in is one that all can easily identify with.
Thanks for the copy.
I did not stay up the extra hour...and then more hours but did turn TV on at 8am
Those loans are fantastic.
I already have other third world commitments but they are a wonderful idea. We surely should all sacrifice a few coffees out and do something like this.

candyschultz said...

The sentiments are high but this is not a poem. I say this as a poet. It is prose. I don't know what has happened to poetry but rhythm, rhyme, meter, simile, etc. have all fallen by the wayside.

Anyone can write prose and put in poetic form. But it is prose.

Helen said...

I don't usually click on UTube links while blog surfing, but I did for this one. Thank you for posting it. Its a great poem/prose. I found myself nodding along, something to remember and live by.