Thursday, January 22, 2009

Elizabeth Alexander explains what poetry is to Stephen Colbert.

And very well, I might add:

Props to Professor Pulitzer Yale: well done!


  1. I have to say I didn't immediately like the poem when she read it. I went home and, after listening to Colbert, found PraiseSong online and read it. It has some powerful and potent lines. I especially like, "Each one of our ancestors on our tongues"

    (by the way, the word verification for this reply is "proet". too funny.)

  2. My life just got a whole lot happier with this. Bonus: New lesson plan for tomorrow.

  3. Yes, that would make a great discussion prompt for the poetry and/or lit class. Also, it's funny. But will they find the "I have a mountain in my pants" part offensive? Oh, those students.

  4. Like DiaNe, I found the delivery disconcerting, but the text wonderful. I've been searching the blogs for commentary about the poem. Many noted that her poetry is academic, and is better enjoyed on the page. An academic poet (I'm not sure exactly what that means, Yale?) seems to jive with the Obama ethos, but her delivery was more than bad. The drawn out, rhythmic pauses were obviously deliberate, and seemed to build a kind of tension. The problem: we did not need tension. We needed release. I found the Reverend Joseph Lowery's sermon thing much more fitting for the occasion.

  5. I don't watch enough Colbert.
    Oddly enough, this is what I was going to talk about at AWP. Maybe I can just run tape?



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