Sunday, January 22, 2017

Inaugural Poems

Art and Environment
by Edward Hessler

Most presidential inaugurations have not included the reading of a poem until relatively recently.

My preference would be to have a poem as part of the ceremony even though I've not been a fan of several of the poems written for the occasion. I think "poems on demand/command" are terribly difficult to write. Writing poems for occasions is a terrific challenge.

[Wikimedia Commons]

This is a bit of trivia I can't resist. Poet Miller Williams was chosen to write a poem and read it at one of President Bill Clinton's inaugurations.  Rock, folk, blues, country songwriter and musician Lucinda Williams is his daughter. She is a favorite.

Don't know what to make of this but since President John F. Kennedy, every Democratic president except Lyndon B. Johnson has included an inaugural poet although I think President Jimmy Carter's choice read at the gala event following. On the other hand, not a single Republican president has asked a poet to read.

Here are two poems for this year's occasion. One was chosen by NPR's Scott Simon.

The other is one you may have heard on CNN, a poem of protest.

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