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"What if the mightiest word is love?"

I have been reflecting a bit today on yesterday's inauguration, and I find myself surprisingly moved by Elizabeth Alexander's poem, Praise Song for the Day.
This part touched me especially:
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables
It seems to me that the greatest movements in our history are often born in the most mundane of places...a small group of people gathered in someone's living room, or in a church basement, or in the back booth of a diner.  Figuring it out at kitchen tables...making plans to have their voices heard.
If you want to learn more about Elizabeth Alexander, go here.  She is a professor at Yale University and is only the fourth person ever to read a poem at a Presidential inauguration.  Her volume of poetry, "American Sublime" was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
It really is an incredibly beautiful poem.

I like this part: love with no need to pre-empt grievance

It's so true---it's not an either/or. You can take issue with something *because* you love it. It's not a choice between loving it or standing toe-to-toe with it, getting in its face a bit--making your complaint and making yourself heard.

At least, that's the way I interpreted that line.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
I think your interpretation is spot on. I liked this poem so much I think I'm going to try to read some more of her work.

I *love* your icon! I need a POTUS Obama icon...I think it's time for my Candidate Obama icon to be retired.
Jan. 21st, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
I thought the poem was beautiful, but was quite distracted by the manner in which it was read- I know it was the poet herself reading it, but it sounded strange, and for me, took away from the meaning 'cause I was trying to figure out what she was saying!

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

This is so beautiful! Thanks for the link.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
You're welcome! :-)

I'm sure she was speaking that way on purpose, but you're right that the poem was difficult to follow sometimes because of the way she read it. The poem is about the every day actions in our lives...things we do deliberately, so I think that's why she was speaking in such a *deliberate* way. At least that's my interpretation. She enunciated every word. I noticed there is a lot of alliteration in the poem, too...for example, in the part you mentioned, there are a lot of S's and W's. All that alliteration almost forces you to speak that way.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )