Inaugural Poet – Elizabeth Alexander

Jan 1, 2009 by

American President-elect Barack Obama has picked Elizabeth Alexander, an award-winning and Pulitzer Prize Finalist poet, to read a poem at his inauguration on the 20 January 2009.  The poem shall be written specifically by Alexander for the event.

This is only the fourth time in America’s history that a president has invited a poet at the inauguration.  The others were Robert Frost for JFK, and Maya Angelou  and Miller Williams for Bill Clinton.

Alexander says in her website,

Poetry is not meant to cheer; rather, poetry challenges, and moves us towards transformation. Language distilled and artfully arranged shifts our experience of the words – and the worldviews – we live in.

Apparently she is a friend of Obama’s, but when asked if that played a part on her being picked, she had this to say:

“One of the things we’ve seen with every choice he’s made is that it’s based on what he perceives as excellence,” Ms. Alexander said. “I don’t think you would let friendship determine who you chose to do something like this. You can do lots of things to be nice to your friends — you can invite them to an inaugural ball. But I don’t think friends have to do each other this kind of favor.”

Read more about her in the WSJ and NYTimes.

Thanks to About.com.

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Bookbabble Episode 10: Bad Leeks

Jun 18, 2008 by

Bookbabble Episode 10: Bad Leeks

Recorded 18 June 2008

Babblers: Bjorn, Lars, Gem, Donny

Synopsis:
The group talks about award-winning books that seem to fall short of the expectations that follows recognition, why it’s not as easy as it seems (at least to us).  Find out why Bjorn loves leek so much, just before he explains his love for Pynchon.  Also, a quick update from our resident Harry Potter correspondent, Amazon sanctions authors, Lars’s quick discussion on Who Speaks for Islam by John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, and Bjorn’s masterful treatment of a classic Swedish poem.

Show Length:
59:29 mins
Special Note: Hmm… let’s see… I forgot to chip in when everyone else said f**k.  I’ve got to take note of that.  Also, Lars mentioned this mysterious entity called ‘Beer Good’.
Links:
Amazon Sanctions Authors (Link from Glenda Larke)
Who Speaks for Islam – as highlighted by Lars in Bookbabble

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