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 weâ€™ve got proof that rapper and poet Common has no intention to kill anyone.
Anyways, the president himself opened the evening to discuss the â€œpower of poetryâ€. Amid the manufactured controversy and hand-wringing over Common being invited, Obama reminded the audience that â€œas a country built on freedom of expression, poets have always played an important role in telling our American story.â€ And lest we think that thereâ€™s only one version of that American story to tell, he noted that, â€œThe power of poetry is that everyone experiences it differently.â€ The acknowledgment of those differences is what brought all of last nightâ€™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 readingsâ€“claiming some extra time onstageâ€“and read her poem, â€œWomanifesto.â€ There was some other stuff too, including a bit about a lanyard and Steve Martin + band setting Auden to bluegrass.
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i just gotta say……totally awesome. thanks for sharing, H&H.