Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander

This week, a poem by Elizabeth Alexander, who will read at Obama's inauguration. You can read more of her poems here. Do you like Obama's choice?


Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

Poetry, I tell my students,

is idiosyncratic. Poetry

is where we are ourselves,

(though Sterling Brown said

“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I’”)

digging in the clam flats

for the shell that snaps,

emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

Poetry is what you find

in the dirt in the corner,

overhear on the bus, God

in the details, the only way

to get from here to there.

Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,

and are we not of interest to each other?



Elizabeth Alexander
was born in Harlem, New York in 1962, and is a professor at Yale. She is the author of four books of poetry. Her latest collection American Sublime was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.

18 Comments:

Blogger I.N.Kwell said...

It takes a lot of talent to pull off a poem about poetry, but she does it nicely. I can't wait to hear her at the inauguration.

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Blogger julie said...

She looks like Michelle! I wonder if Barak realizes that . . . .

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Blogger ginger said...

i love this. she's a rock star. the parenthetical comments act as reading instructions and i read with a raised voice as she says. it ties it all together and it's fan-freaking-tastic. plus i completely agree with her.

thanks for this.

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Blogger Dctr_Penumbra said...

This is a good blog. How can I submit my poetry to be published here?

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