This is Elizabeth Alexander's 'Praise Song for the Day' that she read at Barack Obama's inauguration as president.
What do you all think of it? Pavlov's Cat seemed to like it, but Skeptic Lawyer was less positive. And I don't know how long it took the professional poetry critics to respond to it, but this unenthusiastic response by Adam Kirsch - 'Elizabeth Alexander's bureaucratic verse' - appeared barely hours after the inauguration. But he does make a good point here: "In our democratic age, however, poets have always had scruples about exalting leaders in verse. Since the French Revolution, there have been great public poems in English, but almost no great official poems. For modern lyric poets, whose first obligation is to the truth of their own experience, it has only been possible to write well on public themes when the public intersects, or interferes, with that experience--when history usurps privacy."
Let me put it to all of you folks - what did you think of it? I didn't mind it. It hardly lives up to the standards set by public poets like Spencer, or Kipling, or Dryden, but it strikes me as being a fair example of a lyric written for mass consumption.
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