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So the inauguration spectacle is a form of marketing now. She'll probably be the bestselling poet in history before the year is out.
Posted by Fnarf on January 21, 2009 at 12:40 PM · Report this
She may be an excellent poet for all I know... but, someone should have actually listened to her read, before asking her to do so at the inauguration. Because her delivery was truly terrible.
Posted by Julie in Eugene (formerly in Chicago) on January 21, 2009 at 12:48 PM · Report this
As much as I love Barack Obama, we're in an age of egalitarianism, which means we'll have to put up with a lot of statist middle brow art. It's a small price to pay for good Government.
Posted by Unibrow Poster on January 21, 2009 at 12:53 PM · Report this
If it has to do with Obama it has to be good!
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 21, 2009 at 12:54 PM · Report this
Every popular mass cultural object creates a shadow object: The publicly expressed distaste for the thing. As with Tina Fey's internet trolls, getting noticed means somebody somewhere will feel the need to tell the world how much they hate you. As consumers, we are encouraged to define ourselves through our dislikes as much as through our likes.
Posted by flamingbanjo on January 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Is it fair to count an $8, one poem publication as a "poetry book"?
Posted by Banna on January 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM · Report this
FWIW, my mom LOVED the poem.

One disagreement: someone with slam poet cadence would have been a huge improvement in terms of delivery. Alexander read that thing like a deer caught in headlights. I'm willing to believe she can write poetry but she sure doesn't understand how to speak it.
Posted by genevieve on January 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Maybe it's like when a mediocre pop song gets attached to a great movie, and becomes popular... people want the song because they associate it with the good feelings they had watching the movie.
Posted by breklor on January 21, 2009 at 12:57 PM · Report this
It's like the Daily Show portrayed - lots of GOP getting rich off of everyone wanting to commemorate our nation returning from the Dark Side to the side of Good and Truth.

But you're not getting my Obama T-s!
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 21, 2009 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Keep in mind that "The Da Vinci Code," "Who Moved My Cheese?" and "The Secret" are also "best-sellers."
Posted by GrammarCop on January 21, 2009 at 1:04 PM · Report this
And yet my opus, "If You Fuck With My Cheese You'll Be Sorry, Cocksucker" was rejected by every single publisher in the country.
Posted by Fnarf on January 21, 2009 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Why didn't they let me read my sex ed haiku?

A fifth of vodka
Time to make a tiny tot
Penis vagina
Posted by Jason Josephes on January 21, 2009 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Maybe she'll spend the money on poetry lessons.
Posted by LDP on January 21, 2009 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Haiku is hard to get right.
You're a genius, Mr. Josephes.

I wish they had chosen National Treasures Mark Strand or Billy Collins.
Posted by Utah Democrat on January 21, 2009 at 1:55 PM · Report this
I'm getting my poem ready for the next Inauguration:

Come ye Americans, and listen to a story about a man named Jeb,
Something something something-that-rhymes-with-Jeb
Posted by mint chocolate chip on January 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM · Report this
You are all huge snobs.
Posted by Trevor on January 21, 2009 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Nothing snobby about calling bs on bad poetry. But Billy Collins would have been even worse.
Posted by Grant Cogswell on January 21, 2009 at 2:33 PM · Report this
I liked it.
Posted by JB on January 21, 2009 at 2:55 PM · Report this
#9 When you mentioned the Daily Show I thought you were going to say how the organizers were going to peacefully disperse a crowd of two million and the poem was the answer.
Posted by elswinger on January 21, 2009 at 3:03 PM · Report this
Perhaps the poem, which did not meet the standard for Shinola, was crappy by design, an effort to dumb down Obama's aura in a non-crucial way. A decent poem would have been elitist, right? If not downright efete. Consider this excretion a warm brown dove of peace extended toward the illiterate masses.
Posted by k on January 21, 2009 at 3:42 PM · Report this
I'll extemporize a better inaugural poem right now:

my great aunt sang herself
to sleep last night and sang
herself awake in the shower

and my pancakes
never tasted so good


no longer is the white house
the white house only;
its halls of power, painted
in earth-tone rainbows, now match
the nation's chalcedony heart

my basketball never seemed so small
and my brother never looked
so tall, his hand up and open to all,
no secrets hiding in his sleeve --
don't you know the shortest route
to a laugh is a goofy smile?

the skinny kid with a funny name
has come home to roost
and i think he'll stay a while
and i think i'm pleased.
Posted by doctiloquus on January 21, 2009 at 5:06 PM · Report this
have you seen this obama poem youtube?
Posted by tesh on January 23, 2009 at 7:29 AM · Report this

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