21 ene. 2009

The inaugural poem was unfortunate because of a series of circumstances that aren't all the fault of the inaugural poet, Elizabeth Alexander.

*How the hell do you write an inaugural poem, anyway? It is an impossible task. Even Robert Frost composed a piece of light verse, then couldn't read it in the glare and read the one about the land being ours before we were the land's. You might as well read some piece of doggerel by Rich Puchalsky.

*The inaugural poet, in this case, is not as good a writer as the president. Most poets aren't. Having to follow him put her in a disadvantageous light.

*She used the dread "poet's voice" and made her own lines incomprehensible. Because of her odd intonation and emphasis, I was parsing the line "All about us is noise" as "everything that might be, in some sense "about" us, referring to us, is noise." as opposed to the plain meaning of the words on the page: "We are surrounded by noise."

*Nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition, but in this case it creates awkwardness, in one of the worst phrases of the poem: " built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of." Glittering edifices are not made of brick. This is not as well-written as prose. Not even close.

2 comentarios:

Bob Basil dijo...

I was reminded of Richard Pryor's response to an interviewer who asked how he did such good impersonations of white people: "I take all rhythm out of my speech," he said. *laughs* I know the poet is "black," but the dread poet's voice PLUS the arbitrary-seeming pauses would not have made Richard Pryor proud.

THAT said, she was in a tough position, as you note. AND: In NYC this weekend I blew a prepared toast at the wedding of an old friend. I was too overwhelmed by the situation to be fully articulate let alone charming. So I give Ms. Alexander an A for just getting up there and making it to the end of her "poem."

Jordan dijo...

Built bride by bride the glittering editorials they would then keep clean and work inside of.