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Poetry & Poets in Rags of December 23



Poetry & Poets in Rags of December 23
By rus bowden on 12/23/2008
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Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog:
http://poetryandpoetsinrags.blogspot.com/

Last week, I mentioned in our announcement that Poetry & Poets in Rags would be a good place to shop, with all the fine book reviews we had. This week, there are so many lively articles and poems about the holidays, that it is a good place to relax and enjoy yourself. Throughout our News at Eleven and Great Regulars sections, are holiday articles and poems for you to find and click open.

Another big story is the death of Adrian Mitchell. You''ll find articles about him in Poetic Obituaries as you would expect, but also in Great Regulars, in the Michael Rosen links.

But, we lead off with three links to the news that the good poet Elizabeth Alexander has been selected by Barack Obama as his inaugural poet. There are stories about this news, and poems by her, in Great Regulars as well. Alexander will become the fourth inaugural poet, John F. Kennedy selecting Robert Frost for the 1961 inauguration, and Bill Clinton selecting Maya Angelou and Miller Williams for his in 1993 and 1997. James Dickey read for Jimmy Carter in 1977, but this was at the gala the day before. And here''s why I bring up these dates . . .

Why isn''t the poet laureate of the United States, Kay Ryan, reading at the inauguration? Indeed, since 1986, when the title changed from "Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress" to "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry," why hasn''t the US laureate read at each inauguration?

Before the name change, Kennedy and Carter had each selected a former Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, so we cannot say that Richard Eberhart was necessarily slighted in 1961, nor Robert Hayden in 1977. The title was not one of a laureate. Furthermore, the selection of Dickey by Carter was for the celebration the day before, and it is here that a president elect''s choice is appropriate, versus the next day when, for all intents and purposes, the laureate is socially beheaded if he or she is not invited to read. Obama, by protocol, should ask Alexander to read before the inauguration, and Ryan the following day.

We should have seen from Bill Clinton, that maybe Angelou and then Williams would have read at his two galas, but properly Mona Van Duyn then Robert Hass at his inaugurations. And yet Clinton isn''t the only one to slight a laureate or two. George W. Bush, who had no poet read at either his gala nor inauguration, owes two letters of apology: one to the family and friends of now-deceased Stanley Kunitz and another to Ted Kooser, a Great Regular of ours. Likewise, George H. W. Bush, owes a letter to the estate and friends of Howard Nemerov.

Yours,
Rus

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~~~~~~~~~~~

© By rus bowden On 12/23/2008 8:49:46 PM
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