Inauguration Day: The One Day Every Four Years Americans Hear A Poem

Poems. Some of us read them, listen to them, even write them. But for a great number of Americans (and no, greeting cards and wall posters of “Footprints” do not count as poems), poems are not something regularly experienced. In fact, it’s only on Inauguration Day (during the inauguration of a Democrat not from Texas or Georgia since 1960) that a great number of Americans hear a poem.

In 1993, Maya Angelou (who Americans have heard of) delivered this poem, and poetry got the 1993 equivalent of a Twitter trend. In 2009, Elizabeth Alexander was introduced as an American poet (so as to not get booed?) and did this to the English language.

This year, the inaugural poem was writ and delivered by gay Latino Cuban-born poet Richard Blanco. (Way to hit all the left-leaning categories, Inaugural Committee!) Here’s Gawker’s assessment of what he did to the English language. Here’s footage. (Note: “Kindled” is in the first line — did Amazon pay for inaugural poem product placement?)

Note: We’re actually big poetry fans here. We’re not sure the inauguration does poetry any favors.


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