Poetry in the White House

Well, we bet a lot of poets spent their Wednesdays at a reading or book launch, but we were tied to our Internets for the White House Eve of Poesie. It was not a dream! It really happened! And now at least we’ve got proof that rapper and poet Common has no intention to kill anyone.
Anyways, the president himself opened the evening to discuss the “power of poetry”. Amid the manufactured controversy and hand-wringing over Common being invited, Obama reminded the audience that “as a country built on freedom of expression, poets have always played an important role in telling our American story.” And lest we think that there’s only one version of that American story to tell, he noted that, “The power of poetry is that everyone experiences it differently.” The acknowledgment of those differences is what brought all of last night’s varied guests together.
As for poet and performance artist Alison Knowles, she gave her shoes their own music stand, read about houses from a dot-matrix printout, and gave a too-quick shout-out to sound poetry (if only they could have projected some Four Horsemen!). Jill Scott did that thing people do at readings–claiming some extra time onstage–and read her poem, “Womanifesto.” There was some other stuff too, including a bit about a lanyard and Steve Martin + band setting Auden to bluegrass.
Read the entire story here.

0 thoughts on “Poetry in the White House

Leave a Reply